[Avodah] A Three-Day Journey

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Wed Jan 9 16:35:05 PST 2013

On Wed, Jan 09, 2013 at 11:09:50AM +0000, Akiva Miller wrote:
: ...: http://tinyurl.com/bbj79rv

: In my opinion, [CR Lord Jonethan Sacks] raises an important question,
: and phrases it quite powerfully, but his answer is not nearly as good as
: his question is, and I'm hoping that someone can either offer a better
: answer, or show me what I missed in his.

: He brings seven stories in Chumash where a tzadik deliberately tells
: a half-truth, with the deliberate intention of deceiving someone..

This is a kelal in halakhah -- meshaneh es ha'emes mipenei hashalom,
but outright sheqer would be assur. The Center for Jewish Values has a
nice collection of mar'eh meqomos on the topic at
<http://www.jewishvalues.us/uploads/102_Anochi_Esav.pdf>. (That PDF has
images of the text. But when I learned their material, my chavrusah and
I often felt they were cutting the snippets at a size that advances the
general point, but often too short to get a real idea of the source's

I listed cases in <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol28/v28n078.shtml#02>
where the gemara allows shinui. See
also RAZivitofsky's article in Judaism at
He lists (other than piquach nefesh) mipenei hashalom, preventing
financial loss, anavah, tzenius and hospitality, dignity (see next
paragraph). And then continues with the limitation of shinui vs sheqer.

Beis Hillel answered "keitzad meraqdim" with "kallah na'ah vachasudah"
rather than Beis Shammai's "kallah kemos shehi" as part of a general
kelal about not making someone regret their commitments (including
purchases). See Kesuvos 17a. How is it shinui rather than sheqer? Because,
they explain, she is na'ah vachasudah in the chasan's eyes.

IOW, shalom (and a few other things) are higher priorities than emes.
One can't totally ignore emes (except to prevent piquach nefesh), but
in the case of conflict, one can bend it.

RMF invoked "verav chesed va'emes" to explain why he was more concerned
about helping someone who came to him asking for a hasqamah for his sefer
or an ishur for fundraising than investing hours to check the facts.
Chesed comes first.

Then there is R' Shim'on in Bereishis Rabba 8:5, about HQBH casting down
Emes after it and Shalom objected to His idea of the creation of man. Why
didn't Hashem cast both? Because once Emes is compromised, humanity's
existence doesn't /require/ the abandonment of Shalom. (Although in
practice, we pretty consistently do.)

Aside from the 3 days, which I understood as Zev did: Moshe was really
asking Par'oh for permission to spend 3 days going to get the Torah
and returning to slavery. But the rest of CR/L JSacks's examples are
in concert with the halakhah. In fact, Yevamos 65b cites the brothers'
mistruth to Yoseif and Hashem's partial truth to Avraham as sources for
the din!

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Like a bird, man can reach undreamed-of
micha at aishdas.org        heights as long as he works his wings.
http://www.aishdas.org   But if he relaxes them for but one minute,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      he plummets downward.   - Rav Yisrael Salanter

More information about the Avodah mailing list