Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

For the Sake of Peace II

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

God said to Avraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Can I indeed have a child when I am so old?’” (Bereshith 18:13)

As pointed out in the previous article, from this verse we derive that it is permitted to deviate from the facts for the sake of peace.1 Certainly if one can bring about peace in a different way, he is obligated to do so. However, if there is no alternative but to deviate from strict factual integrity, he should not view the situation as if he is doing something improper.

The proof that this is the correct outlook is that God chose to mention Sarah’s words to Avraham, even though he could have chosen not to mention the incident to Avraham at all. He deliberately brought it up, changing Sarah’s words when He repeated them to Avraham. Since the Torah records God’s words here, it is clear that God intended to teach us that if a person finds himself in a situation in which deviating from the facts is the only way to maintain peace, he should not refrain from doing so. It is no act of piety to express a truth that will lead to pain and strife. The correct behavior is to convey a message that will guarantee peace.2

Although it is permissible to deviate from factual integrity for the sake of peace, we must examine each case very carefully before we decide to do so.3 Not every situation that might result in negative feelings warrants this behavior. It is important to bear in mind that, although we are permitted to be selective in our reporting of the facts for the sake of peace, we may not do so if we will benefit personally from this sheker, or if someone else will be hurt in the process.4

It is preferable not to deviate from factual integrity in order to prevent possible future disputes, for this approach could lead one to lie in many cases in order to promote countless peaceful causes.5 Although Aharon HaKohen was very active in peace making, he was careful to follow the above guidelines. When he would see two people who were already at odds with one another, he would approach each of them separately and say that he had just seen the adversary “choking himself” and pulling out his hair in distress because he so regrets having upset his friend. Aharon would sit with each of them until both parties were appeased. When the two (previous) adversaries would next meet, they would hug each other as the best of friends.6


1. Yevamoth 65b. A halachic authority should always be consulted.

2. Ben Ish Chai, Devarim 16:20.

3. Rif and Rosh, Yevamoth 65b. Me’iri and Ritva, Bava Metzia 23b.

4. Sha’arei Teshuvah 3:184.

5. Devar Shaul, Yevamoth 63b.

6. Yalkut Shimoni, Malachi 2:6.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON KI SAVO AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

In A Theatre Near You
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Appreciation: Saves us from Sin
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

The Art of the Deal and It's Impact
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Becoming and Adam Shalaim
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Wordless Prayers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771

Happy New Year!
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

> The Layers of Redemption
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Teshuva 101
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

Shofar: Shock Treatment
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Get the Merchandise
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

The Egyptians Made Us Evil
- 5768

The ‘Living’ Torah
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

ArtScroll

The Essence of Jewish History
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Are We listening?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

No Atheists in Foxholes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Leave it Up to the King
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information