There is a quote about fools that I have heard, which is attributed to the Talmud. It goes as follows, "Never tell a fool he is a fool. All you'll have is an angry fool." I know that there are a number of Talmudic statements about fools. I've asked a number of people if they have ever heard of or read this quote. No one that I have asked recalls this statement in the Talmud. I wonder if it is a Yiddish saying, or if it has roots in some Jewish text, or if it isn't of Jewish origin at all.

  • Don't forget though that even from a fool we can learn.
    – Ben Masada
    Dec 17, 2010 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


A possible source is Proverbs (9:8)

אַל תּוֹכַח לֵץ פֶּן יִשְׂנָאֶךָּ הוֹכַח לְחָכָם וְיֶאֱהָבֶךָּ

"Criticize not the scoffer lest he hate you; criticize the wise and he will love you."

Another close one (26:4)

אַל תַּעַן כְּסִיל כְּאִוַּלְתּוֹ פֶּן תִּשְׁוֶה לּוֹ גַם אָתָּה

"Answer not the fool with his foolishness lest you too resemble him."

  • 1
    Barry, Thank you for your response. They are close. I've seen these proverbs before in my initial search for an answer to my question. At this point I'm wondering if there is a Yiddishist (someone who studies the Yiddush language) out there who may have read or heard a Yiddish witticism similar to my quote. To All. Have a happy and Kosher Pesach!
    – ShoreNuff
    Mar 24, 2010 at 1:23

A possible source of this saying is, perhaps, by establishing a connection between two quotes:

"A fool is not aware of his folly" (Gemara in Shabbos 13b), therefore if you tell him he is fool, he will be angry, because "Anger rests in the heart of fools" (koheles 7:9)

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