Jewish Law

Anorexia - covering up

04.11.18

Question

Is there any way that lying is permissible when dealing with anorexia? It's coming from a place where if I'm honest with my nutritionist, she will talk to my mom and it'll cause her pain. I'd rather just lie and keep everyone happy. Any form of deceiving in such a situation is allowed?

Answer

To the Questioner, 

The way that I see it is that you are allowed to change the facts for the purpose of Shalom, if something that has taken place will not be understood in the proper perspective by the other person. 

In a case where an actual condition has developed already, there is no idea of misunderstanding in regard to the condition itself, since it really does already exist. 

Therefore, if the question is only in regard to Mother's knowledge that a problematic condition does exist and that this might cause her pain, there is no reason to cover it up, since there is no lack of Shalom that is caused by her knowing that the problem exists, since it really does already exist. 

It is also not a lack of Kibud Eim to let her know since you did not do anything with the intent of hurting her; it is situation that you are in and in might be considered a greater level of Kibud Eim to actually reveal to her where you are holding rather than to cover it up from her. 

If however, the question is not only limited to Mother's pain but  that she might misunderstand the reason that you came to such a situation, for example if she will criticize, or badger, or harbor resent for you etc. then there would be permissibility for the therapist to explain that you need continued therapy without actually telling Mother the condition. 

This is all assuming that the therapist is a frum Jew who will be sensitive to your feelings, and will be able to work with you in the realm that the halachah prescribes.

Not being honest with the therapist, however, is a question of whether you will receive the full help toward recovery that you need, and we are obligated to do the hishtadlus necessary to get better whenever being ill, whether it be something connected to a physical element or whether it be something connected to a psychological element. 


With Blessing for Refuah Sheleima, 
Rav Nachum

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