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Hakaras HaTov (Gratitude) is a very important trait in Torah. Can the principle of Hakaras HaTov create a situation where what is otherwise prohibited becomes permitted?

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I think one of the words "forbidden" and "prohibited" is not what you meant. –  Monica Cellio Dec 21 '11 at 16:07
    
Short answer, yes, but I can't remember the exact midrash which gives a nice example. –  avi Dec 22 '11 at 9:56
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1 Answer 1

In most cases it is prohibited to use flattery or to lie to somebody.

However, there is a case in the gemorah (Sanhedrin 107b and Sotah 47a) where out of hakarot hatov for a fine meal and a good lodging, the rav says to the innkeeper that she is beautiful. His student objects that her eyes are not pretty, to which the rav pushes away his student.

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According to Rashi in Sotah, this is incorrect. The Rabbi was complimenting her actions, not her appearance. –  Barry Dec 29 '11 at 17:36
    
@Barry did the innkeeper know he was doing this when he said it? –  avi Dec 29 '11 at 19:33
    
@Barry, Yes, but wouldn't something like that still be g'neivas da'as in general? –  jake Dec 29 '11 at 20:05
    
The text doesn't say the Rabbi was addressing the innkeeper - it's more likely he was complimenting her to his student in a private conversation. Furthermore, the Rabbi genuinely meant what he said. No lying or misleading going on here. –  Barry Dec 29 '11 at 21:16
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