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Jeffrey L. Rubenstein

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Wooden blocks that spell truth in red letters

Jewish tradition emphasizes the importance of telling the truth, but not always.

“Sometimes it is necessary to deviate from the truth,” argued Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (1892-1953), “such as when the truth will not help but will cause injury.”

Consider this Talmudic story:

A sage named Rav Tavut would not lie even if given all the possessions in the world. One day he came to a place named Qushta [“truth” in Aramaic], where the residents did not “modify their words” [lie] and no one died prematurely. He married a woman who had two sons. One day his wife was sitting and...

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