Say a person overslept and missed Shacharis, and someone asked him what happened. Is he allowed to lie and say that he Davened somewhere else.

Say someone's caught doing something embarrassing in public. Can he lie and say it was because he lost a bet?

My question really boils down to this. Are you allowed to lie to avoid embarrassing yourself?

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    Also see hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=1415&pgnum=9 Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:32
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    Your examples are different. Within the first case, a couple of possibilities: 1a) Someone is asking out of idle curiosity and has no right or reason to inquire what you were doing and why. 1b) Someone is asking because they are concerned with your spiritual welfare, especially if this person is involved in your spiritual life by your consent (e.g. your rebbe). Within the second case: 2a) Someone happened to observe you doing something wrong or sinful. 2b) Someone happened to observe you doing something neither wrong nor sinful. Within (2b): i.) They start interrogating you. ii.) They don't.
    – Fred
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 20:39
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    ...These cases may carry meaningful halachic distinctions for your proper response. Additional factors may be whether or not you suspect that the other person will speak lashon hara' or motzi shem ra' about you, or whether or not you suspect they will unjustifiably mistreat you over the embarrassing information. | Note that, even if it is strictly permitted to lie to avoid revealing personal but harmless information to someone who really has no business knowing about it, it still seems praiseworthy to tell the truth (Sanhedrin 97a, starting "אמר רבא מריש הוה אמינא "). +1, by the way.
    – Fred
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 20:51
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    @Jay I suppose you could assume this question is dealing with 1) someone who doesn't have a particular right to the information (e.g. a co-worker who is not your boss asks you why you're late to work), 2) there's no harm from telling him the truth, aside from being embarrassed that he knows the truth (e.g. he won't speak lashon hara'), and 3) the embarrassing truth is not sinful (it is forbidden to publicize one's own private sins). Once you meet all those criteria, you can deal with the core of the question. Otherwise, you have a bunch of complicating halachic factors.
    – Fred
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 22:50
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    Possible duplicate of Is there a problem with lying?
    – kouty
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


according to halachapedia quoting Rabbi Elyashiv zt'l

if a bochur who went on a date is asked where were you last night he does not have to say the truth if he is embarrassed. (quoted in Titen Emes L’Yaakov page 102)

seems at least one can avoid telling the truth.

  • I guess R"E was answering a specific question, but perhaps you should explicitly extrapolate that he means lying in order to save YOURSELF from embarrassment is permitted. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 13:52
  • @IsaacKotlicky see the link. the question was about saving yourself from embarassment and that's what he says there is permitted
    – ray
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 13:59
  • Then make that more explicit in your answer and I'll upvote. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 14:05
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    Deflecting the question (not saying the truth) isn't the same as lying, though. "I had to take care of something" is true; "I was doing X" (when I was really doing Y) is false. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 14:32
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    @ray, what I'm saying is that the part you included here doesn't say it's ok to lie, so your "implicit" conclusion doesn't seem implicit to me. Your quote just says you don't have to tell the truth. You can avoid telling the truth without actually lying; the question asks about lying. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 16:32

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