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The Big Lie

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Topic: God, Lying

Michael Green wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Can G-d lie? If so, then everything the Torah says maybe is a lie [50% chance it is]. Also maybe Hashem does not care if we do His commandments, and that what He tells us do to is a lie [and He is being cynical]. Please explain. Thank you!

Dear Michael Green,

No, G-d can't lie or be cynical. G-d is All-Merciful and Benevolent, and no form of imperfection or cynicism can be attributed to Him.

There is an example in the Torah where G-d told Avraham information which wasn't "the whole truth." When 90-year old Sarah heard she was going to have a child, she expresses her surprise by saying "After withering, will I become young again? And my husband (Avraham) is old!" When G-d told Avraham what Sarah had said, G-d altered the information somewhat. Instead of saying "my husband is old" G-d told Avraham that Sarah said "I am old."

But even here, G-d didn't lie, but rather paraphrased the first part of Sarah's statement in which she describes herself as old, and omitted the second part where she calls Avraham old. This was done for the sake of the greater goal of peace between husband and wife.


  • Bava Metzia 87a
  • Bereishet 18,12-13

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