Honesty As A Form Of Idolatry

Honesty is a value only insofar as it leads to growth, compassion and peace.

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She is Beautiful

The Mishnah, an early rabbinic compilation of legal material, tells us that on her wedding day, a bride is to be told that she is beautiful, regardless of how she really looks.  Why?  Mip'nei darkhei shalom, for the sake of peace.

If serving the Lord does not lead to caring for the dignity of other human beings, does not lead to a willingness to ignore one's own integrity to protect another's feelings, then there is something lacking in our notion of what God wants.

According to the Torah, and according to rabbinic tradition, God cares about human caring. Honesty in the service of compassion and growth is a mitzvah, commandment, even if the truth is painful.  Honesty at the expense of another human's feelings, simply to air one's own viewpoint, is a betrayal of God.

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Rabbi Bradley Artson

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson is Vice-President of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles and Dean of its Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies. He served as a congregational rabbi in Southern California for ten years. Rabbi Artson?is the author of The Bedside Torah and co-author of a children's book, I Have Some Questions about God.