Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: What is the Jewish philosophy on fibbing/lies? Why or why not does Jewish Law permit it?
Mesora: Lying represents the antithesis of what Judaism is all about, i.e., the search for truth and knowledge of our Creator. Judaism's primary goal is one using their mind to arrive at truths and an accurate perception of reality and God. When we lie, we ignore our purpose in life; "to uncover all that God has embedded in the world from which to learn."
The Torah does however state that there are situations where one is permitted to lie. "Permitted", not urged. This means it is not the preferred activity. We must always keep our "mind's eye" on truth. There is however one concession where truth becomes secondary, that is when "peace" is at risk. The reason is because "peace" or harmony is the very backdrop undisposable for fostering truth. Therefore, when peace is at stake, one may lie to protect and secure that environment essential for the pursuit of truth. To lie about your husband's taste in his tie, or about your wife's cooking is permissible so as to keep serenity ever present, thereby securing an enduring environment of peace so learning may take place. Otherwise, the turbulence which is the result of insensitivity will create discord, and not only learning, but all goals becomes compromised by ill feelings.
Truth then remains prized above all else. Knowledge of what is real must be our goal in this life. Lying to make another feel better does not cause one to veer from the goal of knowledge, and is therefore permitted in such cases.
Additionally, we see that the Patriarchs lied. Abraham lied to protect his life and his wife's life. Jacob lied to his father Isaac to procure the blessings. It is of no consequence if one lies to another about the color of a vase, for example. Such a lie does not remove one from reality or distort one's views about God. A lie per se is not an evil. When is a lie evil? When it removes you or another person from a true understanding of reality. The Patriarchs were not involved in this type of lie. They would never be involved in a distortion of reality. And I am sure they would not lie without cause. They did however lie when it was necessary for a greater good, and where no distortions of reality took place.

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