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Geneivat Daat 1 2

Last week we began discussion of the prohibition known as ‘Geneivas Daas’ – this is literally translated as ‘stealing the mind’ of someone else. The early authorities discuss the nature of this prohibition.

The Rambam (Moses Maimonides, Hilchot Dayot, 2:6) describes this prohibition in the following way: That one should not say one thing, but think something else in his heart, rather “his inside should be like his outside”. Therefore, a person should not speak friendly words when he doesn’t mean it. The Rambam also writes that this prohibition includes how we act with non-Jews (later on we will bring examples that he brings). Similarly, the Sefer Chassidim and Pele Yoetz write that one should not show great affection to a person when he doesn’t feel affection towards him in his heart.

In this vein, the Rabbinical sources praise Yosef’s brothers that they did not act in a two-faced way towards Yosef, rather they could not speak to him friendly words, because they did not feel friendly in their hearts (Rashi, Bereishis, 37:4).

1. This article is based on a talk given by Rabbi David Genish, Shlita, Rabbi of Kehillat Meam Loez – an English speaking Sefardi shul in Ramat Beit Shemesh – one of the only English Sefardi shuls in the whole of Eretz Yisroel. For more information about the Meam Loez community, email me on:


Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and

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