Geneivat Da’At: The Prohibition Against Deception in Today's World
16 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2013
Date Written: August 1, 2002
This paper explores how Jewish law views geneivat da’at (literally theft of one’s knowledge). This is the term used in Jewish law to indicate deception, cheating, creating a false impression, and/or acquiring undeserved goodwill. Geneivat da’at goes beyond lying. Any words or actions that cause others to form incorrect conclusions about one’s motives might be a violation of this prohibition. One does not have the right to diminish the ability of another person to make a fair and honest evaluation, whether in business or interpersonal relations. Applications to modern situations including accounting, advertising, retailing, cheating on exams, and philanthropy are discussed.
Keywords: deception, ethics, Jewish law, geneivat da'at, undeserved goodwill
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