If someone goes to visit a patient in the hospital, and while he's there he is met by another patient who thinks that the visitor came especially to see him, is he obligated to tell his friend that "I was in the area anyway" and not pretend that he came especially to visit him?

Is there a difference if the visitor causes him to think so or if he thinks so on his own?

I'm looking for a source for this, or for something similar.

If it is forbidden for the visitor to cause him to think that he came especially for him, how does that differ from giving compliments which are not true? SEE HERE


2 Answers 2


This seems practically identical to a problem posed in Chullin 94b:

Mar Zutra the son of Rabbi Nahman was once going from Sikara to Mahuza, while Raba and Rabbi Safra were going to Sikara; and they met on the way. Believing that they had come to meet him he said: ‘Why did the Rabbis take this trouble to come so far [to meet me]?’ R. Safra replied: ‘We did not know that the Master was coming; had we known of it we should have put ourselves out more than this’. Raba said to him, ‘Why did you tell him this; you have now upset him’? He replied: ‘But we would be deceiving him otherwise’. ‘No. He would be deceiving himself [thinking that they had specially come to meet him].’

This seems to imply that if someone does something for himself, but it is understood by another that it was done in his honor, one does not have to correct this misunderstanding. This also seems to be the way the shulchan aruch (choshen misphat 228:6) applies it:

אסור לרמות בני אדם במקח וממכר או לגנוב דעתם כגון אם יש מום במקחו צריך להודיעו ללוקח אף אם הוא עכו"ם לא ימכור לו בשר נבילה בחזקת שחוטה ואין לגנוב דעת הבריות בדברים שמרא' שעושה בשבילו ואינו עוש' אסור כיצד לא יסרהב (בחבירו) שיסעוד עמו והוא יודע שאינו סועד ולא ירבה לו בתקרובת והוא יודע שאינו מקבל ולא יפתח חביות הפתוחות לחנוני וזה סובר שפתחם בשבילו אלא צריך להודיעו שלא פתחם בשבילו ואם הוא דבר דאיבעי ליה לאסוקי אדעתיה שאינו עושה בשבילו ומטעה עצמו שסובר שעושה בשבילו לכבודו כגון שפגע בחבירו בדרך וסבור זה שיצא לקראתו לכבדו אין צריך להודיעו:

He who meets a fellow on the way, who think he came in his honor, does not need to inform him.

  • 1
    Thank you very much for the 2 sources. I edited the question to remove my incorrect assumption. The 2nd part of my question still stands. Since if he CAUSES the person to believe wrongly, it is forbidden, according to both gemara and the Sh. Aruch, how does that differ from giving compliments which aren't true, which is allowed? Commented May 16, 2018 at 9:44
  • I think the gemera implies an answer: the person who believes the visit was in his honor deceives himself. The implication would be that not correcting the wrong assumption is not itself a form of deception. This alone would distinguish it from giving false compliments [in order to protect someone from embarrassment]. If this sounds right I can try to edit it into the answer?
    – RonP
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 11:32

The Torah teaches us that "משנים מפני [דרכי] שלום". THe Gemmorah brings numerous examples that our forefathers and G-d Himself changed the language (ואני זקנתי) because of peace.

A clear example of that is the Gemmorah in Kiddushin 31, that even obligates a son to ask for a personal favor as if it was for his father for his father's respect.

This is especially true when it is done in the way of שב ואל תעשה like "making him passively think that" instead of explicitly saying the lie.

THe book Mishpatey Shalom (בין אדם לחבירו) brings numerous examples of not telling the straight truth, like leaving the original price tag when buying on sale to להרבות אחווה ושלום.

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