Q: I’d like some advice on how to teach my children the halachah that “one is allowed to distort the truth for the sake of peace,” and that in some cases one may even lie in order to avoid rechilus and strife. Can I teach this to my children without affecting how they value truth?
A: “Mishpetei Hashem emes tzadku yachdav — The Torah is Toras emes, and the seal of Hashem is truth” (Zohar). Nevertheless, Chazal teach us that mutar leshanos mipnei hashalom — that sometimes one may lie for the sake of peace (swearing falsely is never allowed).
Inasmuch as the advantages of shalom are vast and Hashem truly desires that we live in peace, the truth may be distorted for the sake of our harmonious existence, for Hashem dwells where shalom reigns.
A case in point is the sotah, where Hashem agreed to have His holy Name erased for the sake of keeping peace between man and wife. When explained from this angle, children will accept it and grow in their understanding of truth and shalom.
The truth in the explanation of this halachah will protect children from misconceptions in their values.
The following questions and answers were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-2 5379160.
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