The Gemara says (Yevamos 63a)

רב הוה קא מצערא ליה דביתהו כי אמר לה עבידי לי טלופחי עבדא ליה חימצי חימצי עבדא ליה טלופחי כי גדל חייא בריה אפיך לה אמר ליה איעליא לך אמך אמר ליה אנא הוא דקא אפיכנא לה אמר ליה היינו דקא אמרי אינשי דנפיק מינך טעמא מלפך את לא תעביד הכי שנאמר למדו לשונם דבר שקר העוה וגו'

Rav was bothered by his wife. When he told her to make Tlufchi she made Chimtzi and when he told her to make Chimtzi she made Tlufchi. When Chiya his son grew up he made sure to invert [Rav's instructions]. Rav told his son "Your mother improved". He said back "I inverted [your instruction]". ... Rav instructed him not to do so anymore as it says 'teach your tongue to stay away from falsehood'

On the other hand (Yevamos 65a)

וא"ר אילעא משום רבי אלעזר בר' שמעון מותר לו לאדם לשנות בדבר השלום שנאמר אביך צוה וגו' כה תאמרו ליוסף אנא שא נא וגו' ר' נתן אומר מצוה שנאמר ויאמר שמואל איך אלך ושמע שאול והרגני וגו'

R' Ilai says in the name of Rabbi Elazar B'R Shimon one is allowed to change truth for the sake of peace as it says [by Josef's brothers] "Our father commanded..." R' Nosson says It's a Mitzva as it says "Shmuel says How can I go, but Shaul will kill me"

Looks like by changing the truth in the first quote R' Chiya B'Rebbi improved Shalom Bayis. This seems (in Quote 2) to be a Mitzva. Why did his father criticize him?

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    Perhaps, although one may change the truth for the sake of peace, one should limit one's dishonesty as much as possible and not become accustomed to fibbing regularly, as Rav's son might otherwise have done to help his father on a regular basis (per לִמְּדוּ לְשׁוֹנָם דַּבֶּר-שֶׁקֶר, that the people had become accustomed to lying). Also, while Rav's son would be more dishonest by switching the order (implying that his father said something that he demonstrably did not say), Rav would not be as dishonest to ask for something other than his preference (which would have the same effect). – Fred Feb 12 '15 at 6:27

The Magen Avraham in siman 156 quotes the seffer Hachasidim siman 426 that says 'this that it is allowed to change the truth for peace, this is only for something which has already passed but not concerning the future'.

The case of Chiya is for the future, he lied and told her what she should go now to prepare.

The case with Yosef's brothers is in the past. What was said was said. The fact that Yosef's reaction is in the future is irrelevant as they didn't tell him how to react or what to do.

The last case with Shaul is somewhat different and not related to this seffer chassidim. But it is different than the other cases as he really took those animals as Karbanos. His lie then was not so much a complete fabrication, but rather an alternate truth, which can be argued as not comparable to the case of Chiya bar Rav.

Here http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/aggada/04a-aggada.htm you will find a few more answers as to why Rav told Chiya not to lie even though it is usually commendable for peace.

There is one more reason I saw in one of the common mussar sefferim, but I can't recall which one right now. The basic pshat was that Chiya didn't just lie, make peace and get on with life. He tricked his own parents, and then virtually bragged about it to his father. This was belittling to Rav.


A simple answer would be that Rav's wife's cooking wasn't jeopardizing the peace (presumably because Rava was sufficiently amicable)

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    I considered this also, but that might imply that Rav's case was somehow different from Avraham Avinu's case, where it was apparently necessary to change Sarah's words for the sake of peace (Bava M'tzi'a 87a): תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל גדול שלום שאפי' הקב"ה שינה בו שנאמר ותצחק שרה בקרבה וגו' ואדוני זקן וכתיב ויאמר ה' אל אברהם וגו' ואני זקנתי. So you would have to make a compelling argument for why the two cases would be substantially different. – Fred Feb 12 '15 at 22:18

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