Next Wednesday evening, I will begin a three-part course on Jewish Ethics. The first topic will be ‘What is a Lie?’
Judaism is a rich repository of quotations about lying. In Exodus, we read “Keep far away from a lie.” (23.7) Proverbs states “Better to be poor than a liar.” (19.22)
Lying has a harmful effect on society. “The way of a liar is to think all people are liars like her.” (Abravanel) “If a ruler pays heed to lies, all that serve him will be evil.” (Proverbs 29.12)
Yet, Judaism recognizes that lying may be permissible sometimes. “A lie may be forgiven in three cases: in war as a strategy; to make peace between people; or when a husband wishes to make-up with his wife.” (Zabara)
In our session, we will explore various dimensions of lying: why Judaism condemns this practice; the effects of lying on society; and under what circumstances is it permissible to not tell the truth?
The first session of Jewish Ethics will take place January 16 at 7pm.
It will be the greatest evening of your life! (Does exaggeration count as lying?)