When a Lie Is Not a Sin:
The Hebrew Bible's Framework for Deciding
by Rabbi Dennis Ross
Sometimes telling a lie is the most truthful thing a
person can do. The Hebrew Bible gives us a
framework for determining when that is.
Is omitting the truth the same as lying? Why is lying
OK when life is at stake? Do I have to be honest about
a friend's new tie or dress? Do kids need to be told the
whole truth? Can a small lie serve a greater truth?
Taking ancient Jewish teaching as a prism to daily
living, this provocative yet compassionate
examination of ethical decision making draws on the
Hebrew Bible to address fine distinctions surrounding
common but complicated personal situations and
shows how a smaller lie can sometimes serve a higher
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Reach Rabbi Ross at Dennis@DennisRoss.net
Praise for When a Lie Is Not a Sin
This provocative look at ethical decision making draws on the Hebrew Bible and shows people of all faiths
how a smaller lie can sometimes serve a higher moral purpose.
A treasure chest of insights into our often complicated moral circumstances and piercing questions which force
us to think about what we say and do. A must-read for all faiths.
Dr. Norman J. Cohen
Author, Masking and Unmasking Ourselves: Interpreting Biblical Texts on Clothing and Identity
Masterfully weaves biblical and historical storytelling with guidance in making everyday decisions.... Offers us
hope in forging our human frailties and exalting the Divine
Ruth Sharon, LPC, relationship coach
Co-author, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship
Navigating life requires both firm principles and supple flexibility, and the wisdom to know how to live with
both. Rabbi Ross provides us that wisdom ... I look forward to teaching this wise book.
Rabbi Edward Feinstein
Author, Tough Questions Jews Ask and The Chutzpah Imperative: Empowering Today's Jews for a Life that Matters
From Abraham's Genesis to Colbert's truthiness, Rabbi Dennis Ross considers when a lie is not a sin with
nuance and wisdom.... Whether you are an individual reader curled up at home or part of a reading group or
Torah study community, this book will make you think hard and grow. Truly a gem.
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky
Author, The Genesis of Ethics and Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud
An excellent and thoughtful guide drawing on Hebrew Scripture to help us understand how to balance integrity
and common sense.
Pastor Don Mackenzie
Co-author, Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith
Dives into the real world and its multiple and manifest complexities. Rabbi Ross makes a clear path through
our own twistedness and that all around us. You will find relief as well as personal clarification reading this
Rev. Donna Schaper
Author, Living Well While Doing Good
Provides insight about the nature of lying... The author is careful not to portray lying as a way of life, but
describes the criteria and kinds of situations where it serves a useful purpose.
Michael Spangle, PhD
Co-author, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Ourselves: Understanding and Healing Our Emotional Wounds
Judaism is a civilization built on nuance and complexity, and our understanding of it must be nuanced and
complex as well. [This book] helps us on both counts. It should be read and, more importantly, pondered.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Translator and annotator, Ethics of the Sages - Pirke Avot: Annotated and Explained
Author, The Golden Rule and the Games People Play: The Ultimate Strategy for a Meaning-Filled Life