Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

A Fresh Start

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

Lying is such a serious transgression that it is compared to idol worship.1 Truth, on the other hand, is such a fundamental value in Jewish thought that clinging to truth can lead one to a life of Torah observance, as described in the following story.

An inveterate thief once approached a rav with the announcement that he had decided to abandon his life of crime. He begged the rav to tell him what he could do to make amends for his many acts of theft. He fully expected the rav to instruct him to undergo a rigorous process of repentance.

The rav, however, realized that any such stringent regimen would prove too difficult for the penitent thief, and he would not be able to maintain it for long. He therefore told the thief that the only change he would need to accept upon himself was an absolute dedication to truth under all circumstances; he should never allow himself to utter even the smallest lie. The thief gave his word that he would do as the rav had instructed him, and with that he left the rav's home, delighted that so little was being demanded of him.

It was not long before the thief's excitement over the notion of repenting wore off, and he was seized by the urge to rob someone's house. As he was on his way to carry out his intention, someone inquired of him where he was headed. Remembering the one promise he had made to the rav, he would not lie, but neither could he bring himself to tell the truth - that he was going to commit a theft. He therefore changed his mind about his anticipated action, and returned home. This scene repeated itself in various forms again and again, until finally he realized that his career as a thief was over; never again would he attempt to steal. He was then able to put his past behind him completely and make a fresh start.2


1 Sanhedrin 92a
2 Sefer Chasidim 647.


Text Copyright 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Gevuros and History
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

New Stage, Old Actors
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Before It Rains
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

'Moment'ary Blunders
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

What Was Noach's Greatest Legacy?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

G-d's Message for All Humanity
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Out of the Darkness
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Certain Things Noach Did Not Have To Worry About
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Resilience is Key
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

> Joint Efforts
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Send The Guinea Pig!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

"G-d Watches Over Man"
Shlomo Katz - 5764

ArtScroll

The Excitement of Every Day
Shlomo Katz - 5775

Positive Speech Builds a Brighter World
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Tire of Babel
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

The Name of HASHEM
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information