Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The importance of being earnest


“Answer questions earnestly, as is in your heart, in sincerity and simplicity, and use your intellect only to determine that an answer is not incorrect. Even your intellect should be simple and earnest, a tool to serve the earnestness and simplicity of your heart, to help her and to bring her intent into action.

“And if you find that this answer will harm you, or there is some other reason you cannot give this answer, then say, ‘I don’t know,’ as the sages instructed, rather than bend and corrupt with a twisted answer, without earnestness and without simplicity.”

[I believe his “as the sages instructed” refers to Kallah Rabti, “‘Teach your tongue to say, ‘I don’t know,’ lest you lie and be trapped.”]

(R’ Klonymus Kalman Schapira, Bnei Machshavah Tovah, Seder Emtza’ei v’Yesod haChevra 15)

Have a great day,


  1. Would someone be obligated to withhold evidence that might self-incriminate or incriminate others, using the examples being written about here? Or, is my understanding not clear? Just wondering.

    (I apologize about the comment given by "Hailey". My daughter did not log out of her account and it accidentally went under her name. Please remove it if you are able.

  2. Hi Darryl,

    [Previous comment duly deleted. Feel free to re-comment without your parenthetical note, and I'll erase the comment that has it, too.]

    Thanks for your question. This would not permit withholding evidence, no; there is a specific biblical obligation to testify.

  3. Could you please forward the information on where the biblical obligation to testify might be found?

  4. Hi Darryl,

    The more direct is Leviticus 5:1, although there are additional, less-direct passages like Leviticus 19:16.