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True Lie

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Topic: Esav, Yaakov Lied to Take Blessing

Rafael de Lucca from Brazil wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I was reading the questions and your answers, and became very curious about Yaakov and Esav, who were part of one of the questions you were asking. I would like to ask you why Yaakov and his mother lied to his father to get blessed? Thank you so much.


Dear Rafael de Lucca,

Esav sold his birthright to Yaakov, including the right for the blessing, so Yaakov was only trying to get something which actually belonged to him. Viewed this way, it was in fact Esav who was trying to steal the blessing.

On a deeper level, Judaism doesn't limit the definition of truth to the factual occurrences as they seem to happen. Judaism defines truth as "the will of G-d." Subsequently, there are certain scenarios where the will of G-d is not to relate to the factual occurrence as is, and this is not considered a lie. We see in the Torah (Genesis 18:13) that even G-d changed, so to speak, Sarah's words when reporting them to Avraham, in order to preserve domestic tranquility. The Talmud (Bava Metziah 24a) states three cases only when one may do so; all of them are specific scenarios where one wishes to avoid harm or discomfort from others, or to maintain ones own humility. For Yaakov to gain the blessings was the will of G-d (as they belonged to him), so any speech which was "untrue" is considered truth.


 
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