October 11, 2010 8:49 pm at 8:49 pm #592597
The place: My shul
The time: Shabbos morning, about ten minutes after davening began.
Yes, I was late for shul. No excuse on my part.
When I got there, I found someone sitting in my usual seat. Since I’m not the type to make a scene, I simply went and took the seat next to him (which didn’t belong to anyone in particular).
When I arrived, the gentleman asked me “am I in your seat?” (as, I guess, he was prepared to move if I said yes). I knew what he meant — he wanted to know if that was the seat I usually sit in.
Rather than potentially embarrassing him, I chose to purposely misrepresent his question. Instead of taking the question as he meant it, I chose to interpret the “your” in “Am I in your seat?” as referring to ownership. Since I do not actually own the seat, I smiled and shook my head no. In other words, I gave an untruthful answer based on the questioners interpretation, but a truthful one based on my (willful) misinterpretation.
My question, I suppose, is this: did I transgress the prohibition of “M’dvar sheker tirchak?” (whether or not you thought my reason for doing so was justified). Or is purposely misinterpreting a question (and delivering a truthful answer to that question) acceptable?
The WolfOctober 11, 2010 8:54 pm at 8:54 pm #701604
its a Gemorrah
one is allowed (i believe Tosafos says it is a Mitzvah) to lie for purposes of darchei Shalom. i forget where this Gemorah is but i believe a Tosfos in Eilu Metzius (dibur hamaschiel Ushpizia on about daf 23b) references it as a kasha to the Gemorrah here that says a Talmid Chochom is allowed to lie about only 3 things.October 11, 2010 8:54 pm at 8:54 pm #701605
maybe someone else can reference this a little more cleaarlyOctober 11, 2010 8:55 pm at 8:55 pm #701606SacrilegeMember
Being that I do the same thing all the time so as not to embarrass someone, I’d say you did good 😉October 11, 2010 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #701607WIYMember
Im not sure, I am inclined to say what you said wasnt truthful because we go by what the normal daas of a person is (basically we go by what was likely intended as the question) and not your purposeful misinterpretation. I would think since he asked, it really wouldnt have been embarrassing to say in a nice way yes, its my seat (but you can sit there I dont mind….) definitely better than not being honest.
If its actually a real toss up between embarrassing someone vs saying a lie ask your LOR whats best to do.October 11, 2010 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm #701608
Sounds like a perfectly legitimate “lomdishe drei”.October 11, 2010 9:04 pm at 9:04 pm #701609
The case was actually just an example. The point was, is it wrong to willfully misinterpret a question in a way that still makes sense (i.e. I couldn’t logically interpret is question as “do you plan on going ballooning tomorrow?”) and provide a truthful answer to that question.
The WolfOctober 11, 2010 9:05 pm at 9:05 pm #701610
If its actually a real toss up between embarrassing someone vs saying a lie ask your LOR whats best to do.
Asking my LOR would have disrupted the davening. That (aside from potential embarrassment of the person) was something I was trying to avoid.
The WolfOctober 11, 2010 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm #701611
whether it is a “lie” or not is interesting but it IS permitted to lie for darchei shalom. although to do it in a lumbdish way to limit the “lyingness” is certainly a mailah.
it is certainly permitted to lie when your wife asks you if she looks fat in thais dress (and she does).
by the way the word thais occurs when you continue typing while trying to decide whether you want to type the word this or the word that.October 11, 2010 9:07 pm at 9:07 pm #701612
one is allowed (i believe Tosafos says it is a Mitzvah) to lie for purposes of darchei Shalom.
My question is — is it really a lie at all? Since I provided a truthful answer to a legitimate (if not the intended) interpretation of the question, perhaps it’s not a lie at all.
The WolfOctober 11, 2010 9:07 pm at 9:07 pm #701613blinkyParticipant
“it is certainly permitted to lie when your wife asks you if she looks fat in thais dress (and she does).”
mod. i wouldn’t answer her, i would just tell my wife that her eyesight is still good (old joke)October 11, 2010 9:09 pm at 9:09 pm #701614WIYMember
Well you can ask your LOR the next time you get the chance to know for the future.
I cant imagine its mutar or else in almost any situation you could lie with your own highly unlikely exaggerated misrepresentation of what the person was asking.October 11, 2010 9:11 pm at 9:11 pm #701615squeakParticipant
(and she does)
Therein lies the darchei sholom problem. She is asking you for a subjective opinion, not an objective one. If you have to lie to get it right, then something is wrong.October 11, 2010 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #701616kapustaParticipant
He wasn’t really asking if he was in your seat, he was asking if you wanted him to move. If you let him sit there, it didn’t make a difference if it was your seat or not.
Next time you can just answer, “its ok, you can sit there”. 😀October 11, 2010 9:34 pm at 9:34 pm #701617
Perhaps this belongs in the “Funny Shidduch Stories” thread, but someone once told me that a girl was “well rounded”, which I took as a reference to her education, and he meant “overweight”. Did he lie? Who said I should assume he was talking about her education (I didnt ask any follow up questions to his well rounded comment)?October 11, 2010 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #701618blinkyParticipant
apushatayid- funny! But thats not lying- it could mean both ways
p.s.totally not related, i saw this massive person wearing a tee shirt that said in huge letters “I am in shape cuz round is a shape!”October 11, 2010 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #701619aries2756Participant
I agree with Kapusta, just as you had in mind the meaning of your answer he really had in mind the meaning of his question. So a PC answer would be “its fine, this seat is hefker, we can both stay where we are” or something to that degree to make him feel welcome.October 11, 2010 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm #701620d aMember
There is a real inyin to sit in the same seat when davening. I would say in The Wolf’s case, the other man offered to move. Because of this, he should have said, “Yes its my seat, but you can sit next to me. It is nobody’s seat”.October 12, 2010 12:26 am at 12:26 am #701621☕️coffee addictParticipant
I’m suprised noone commented that one should throw himself into a furnace instead of embarass some1 and we see that from tamar (so lying shouldn’t be any different)October 12, 2010 1:25 am at 1:25 am #701622SJSinNYCMember
I always ask for my husbands honest opinion and he gives it. If I look fat in something, I want him to tell me. He does.October 12, 2010 3:28 am at 3:28 am #701623
d a, within Daled Amos is also good.
Another trick is to avoid the question in some brilliant way. You can tell him that you’re not from here, since you aren’t currently in your place. Or, ask him if it is okay to sit where you are.October 12, 2010 3:44 am at 3:44 am #701624chesednameParticipant
Of course it’s a lie!
as far as shalom goes there, are times we MAY say a lie, but it’s still a lie.
ps if you don’t pay membership in that shul, it’s actually not your seat, even if you daven there every day.
pps I was pleasantly surprised by your thoughtfulness, it’s a shame you wrote it didn’t happen.October 12, 2010 4:14 am at 4:14 am #701625charliehallParticipant
You get daled amot, so there is no reason to insist on a specific seat within the daled amot.
True story: I once visited an out of town shul for a Shabat that had seen better days. It had a beautiful 700 seat beit knesset but only about three dozen people in attendence. About ten minutes into the davening someone arrived and informed me that I was sitting in his seat. No wonder the membership is declining.October 12, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm #701626shlomozalmanMember
Common sense says you did the right thing. In any case, Charlie Hall is correct,having a makom kavuah is flexible; the adjacent seat is just as good.October 12, 2010 3:15 pm at 3:15 pm #701627
pps I was pleasantly surprised by your thoughtfulness, it’s a shame you wrote it didn’t happen.
Thank you for the kind words. However, I think you misunderstood what I said. What I said happened did, indeed, happen. I just wanted to take the question beyond the case I presented to broader circumstances.
The WolfOctober 12, 2010 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #701628
When do you lose the right to tell someone “thats my regular place”? Is it half an hour late? 1 hour? Does it depend on the minhag hamakom? Does it depend on the day (IE 1 hr late on Rosh Hashana is not the same as 1 hr late on a regular shabbos for example). Is a makom kavua so sacrosant that even if you walk in at the last kaddish its ok to say something?October 12, 2010 5:40 pm at 5:40 pm #701629
That’s an interesting question, but it’s not as germaine to the point. Suppose he arrived ten minutes early and I arrived five minutes early. The only thing that would have changed is that I would have answered him verbally rather than with a nod.
The WolfOctober 12, 2010 5:59 pm at 5:59 pm #701630yitayningwutParticipant
.?????? ??:-??October 12, 2010 7:46 pm at 7:46 pm #701631mghanooniMember
The rabbi in my old shul said that if you are late (even 1 min) you lose your makom kavua.
According to that, The Wolf did not lie.
BTW, one is not allowed to lie for peace. The Gemara say Mutar LeShanot – one is permitted to equivocate; i.e. say something that can be interpreted as the truth as well as be interpreted otherwise and hope the listener will understand it the way you want them to.October 12, 2010 8:49 pm at 8:49 pm #701632
Please keep in mind that there is no real Issur to lie.
Lying is a bad Midda and it says Dover Shkarim Lo Yikon Lineged Einai, and it might even be an extension of Midvar Sheker Tirchak. However, the Pshat of Midvar Sheker Tirchak is refering to Beis Din. The Gemara has a separate Drasha that you must keep your word. Even this is not refering to a coversational lie.
Therefore, in this case where there is a chance of embarrassing someone, which is very Chomur, definitely that is Doche the good Mida of saying the truth.
We are all familiar with the Gemara about Kallah Naeh, where Shamai asks Hillel, how can you lie and praise the Kallah as being beautiful even when it is not the case. Hillel answers, if you bought an item, wouldn’t you want to hear that it is good?
Now, it seems that the question of how can you lie was never answered. The answer is that the idea of not lying is to not be the one espousing negative existence. In this case, however, the truth will mess up the existence and will be counter productive in the building of the world; therefore, on the contrary, lying is building. Hence, lying is the truth.October 12, 2010 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm #701633☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Wolf, I would think what you did was fine, based on the sources quoted. I personally prefer the method of gesturing that the seat he’s in is fine (hard to describe in words). In another context, making an intentional misrepresentation would, I think, be wrong.October 19, 2010 12:05 am at 12:05 am #701634mosheroseMember
So you dont believe in medevar sheker and you dont believe in makom kavuah.October 19, 2010 2:49 am at 2:49 am #701635
And you don’t believe in Mutav Sheyapil Atzmo Letoch Kivshon Ha’eish, that it is worth throwing oneself in a fire rather than to embarras someone.
The three things that the Gemara mention where it is permitted to lie are cases of humility, modesty and consideration. To transgress an Aveira in order to say the truth is ridiculous.October 19, 2010 3:03 am at 3:03 am #701636dontcallmewaveMember
if it were me, I would have answered in a way that can be interpeted in both ways (eg: “its ok, stay there” “I can sit somewhere else”)October 19, 2010 3:35 am at 3:35 am #701637HealthParticipant
Even though it’s mutter to say -“It’s not my seat” for Sholom; I don’t see a problem here telling the person -Yes, it is my seat, but please don’t get up -I’ll sit over here. It’s not embarassing for him to know he sat in someone else’s seat, because he had no way of knowing. It might be embarassing if you decide to chuck him out.
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