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sheker l’toeles vs geneivas daas

Question:

How to we reconcile sheker l’toeles vs geneivas daas if we don’t want to hurt someones feelings?

EG 1. A non-frum family members invites us to events, or encourages us to visit but we don’t want to associate with people they hang out them (and even minimize contact do the negative spiritual impact they have on us). On one hand I don’t want to hurt their feelings and sheker l’toeles seems to be the correct approach, but on the other hand, I want to minimize contact with them due their negative influence so I don’t want to create a false impression or even worse flatter them that what they do is ok. For example, I’ve seen approaches that we should “make excuses” to get out of visiting, etc, but it seems like this is problematic.

Kol Tuv.

Answer:

Whenever a person lies and hurts or damages someone else as a result, it is both sheker and geneivas daas. However when the person is lying for shalom, (to make peace between people) it is not considered geneivas daas. This is because geneivas daas is when a person is fooled, and it causes him to lose because of it. For example, if you go to an acquaintances wedding in a different city, and normally and you wouldn’t go through the bother to travel such a distance for his simcha, but you were there anyways on business. To make the friend feel like you came there special for him would cause the friend to feel that he has to reciprocate and when you make a wedding, and he will travel out of town to attend.  Therefore by not telling him or hinting to him the truth is fooling him. However when you lie for peace and it is for the relatives benefit, so that they shouldn’t feel animosity, it isn’t geneivas daas, as they are gaining from it. 

Best wishes

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