[Avodah] Fwd: Dr Shapiro's book

Eli Turkel via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Mon Jul 20 23:56:00 PDT 2015

I found the most disturbing part of Dr Shapiro's book the last chapter.
This is a halachid discussion of lying.

My conclusion from this is that lying is perfectly permissible if there is
a good reason. Basically the ends justifies the means. We are not talking
about white lies as praising the bride for her beauty.

In particular it is permissible to quote a psak from a gadol even though he
never said it as long as you are sure that it is correct and he probably
would have said it.  There is no problem with making up stories about a
gadol as long as the intention is to either glorify the gadol or else show
why some idea is important. He claims that there are groups that actively
make up stories about CI.

The Chatam Sofer says that in order to prevent sins one can make the
problem appear to be more serious than it really is such as turning a
rabbinic prohibition into a biblical one.

The problem with false attribution (besides the seemingly moral one) is
that the result one cannot believe anything that is not written by the
gadol himself. One never knows if the citation of the gadol was
deliberately changed, However as seen in the rest of the book even the
written words of the author are not always authoritative as in many cases
they are tampered with to protect some "higher interest". Even the SA has
been tampered with for this purpose.

One can lie in order to avoid embarrassment to oneself. R Papa seems to
have issued an incorrect halacha to avoid shame.

A poor man can make believe he is blind or crippled in order to get more
charity. One can claim that the monet is going for a poor bride when in
fact it will be used for some other charity.

Finally there is the heter of mental reservation or reinterpreting ones
words made famous by the story of Yaakov "lying" To Isaac that he is Esav.
Shapiro gives the example of Clinton making all sorts of "false" statements
about Lewinsky and later justified it by saying that his words had another
meaning than what people thought. Note this is sometimes permitted even in
monetary cases.

As stated about one can lie for educational purposes "Noble Lie" of Plato.
Rav Dessler defines "truth" as the value that gives a positive result and
is independent of observation and evidence.

Eli Turkel
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