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09 December 2013 @ 05:53 pm
Parshat Vayechi and lies  
So, this week's parshah made me think enough to want to write about it. That link has the whole text, but to summarize, it's about Jacob's death and Joseph arranging for his burial. Jacob says in no uncertain terms that he doesn't want to be buried in Egypt and asks that Joseph take him to the land of his forefathers, and then when Joseph goes to Pharoah to explain it, he just mentions the second part and leaves out the insult to Egypt's soil.

The question of to what degree lying is permissible to spare someone's feelings or because it leads to better results than telling the truth is not quite on the level of "Why do bad things happen to good people," but it is a question that a lot of people have written a lot about and I'm not going to pretend that I'm going to analyze it in depth. I already dealt with it a little bit here. Instead, it's the example I found that made me want to write--in the Talmud, when the rabbis discuss the concept through the example of whether you should tell someone that their bride is ugly.

I love that. I can just imagine a follow up discussion where they debate the answer to, "does this dress make me look fat?"
Beit Hillel says, "No, it makes you look wonderful."

Beit Shammai says, "Dear, it's not just the dress."
The part about praising one's host is interesting logic too. If you don't want to click the link, it basically says you should always say that your host did not treat you well, because the downside of the lie and possible damage to the host's reputation is less than the financial and stress-related downsides of being inundated with guests who want to sample the excellent hospitality.

I can see why people spend a lot of time reading this. These is exactly the kind of arguments that I love to read and think about.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Nightwish - Ghost Love Score