It is forbidden to flatter; one is not allowed to purposefully exaggerate in the hope of flattering someone else. Now is there any circumstance whereby it is ok to flatter a wicked person? The Chofetz Chaim proves from our sedra that there is such a permitted circumstance. When Yaakov meets Eisav, he begs Eisav to accept his gifts, for ‘for I have seen your face (as) like the face of G-D’ (33:10). Similarly, Yaakov calls himself Eisav’s servant (32:21). This was all flattery, but the Midrash says that Yaakov was justified for doing so because it was in order to preserve peace; so Eisav would not kill Yaakov. Similarly, the Chofetz Chaim reports that Rav Chaim of Brisk would approach the general of the army in the city of Minsk each day during World War One for the same reason. ..
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