White Lies | Discussion Page
Seinfeld’s dilemma of truth versus compassion was compared to a Talmudic debate about how to complement an ugly bride. While both values are considered very important in the Jewish tradition , Beit Hilllel claimed that you cannot offend someone for the sake of sticking to the truth. An interesting rebuttal was made that this will lead to a phony polite society where you can never know what others are thinking of you (as illustrated in the Seinfeld ugly baby episode).
The discussion moved to terminally ill patient dilemma.about his body a Rabbinic ruling made the point that not telling the truth will create a panic in other patients who will be burdened with insecurity about their own fate.
In terms of the ugly baby episode, I think this is a situation where you must lie. A baby is a sensitive issue enough where not a singke parent wants to think that their child is ugly. The emotions and love attached to the baby are so strong that if any friend tells the parents it is ugly is a huge insult. Even if the parents recognize the fact that the baby is ugly, they find the cute aspects of the child and that is all that they want to see.
You cannot tell the parents that they have an ugly baby. Unlike the challenge of telling the friend that he has a crazy girlfriend, which is temporary, the baby is permanent and telling the parents will do nothing constructive. Just like how Hashem said to Avraham when he “overheard” Sarah laughing and only said that she said that he was too old for a child, you should avoid the unnecessary, destructive opinion.
In Seinfeld- ugly baby episode,
Elaine gets in to trouble with the baffling and charming pediatrician.
do you think that it can provide support the opinions of Beit Shamai or Brit Hillel ?
is there something new to learn from one of the great Talmudist of our time Rabbi J, Seinfeld?5