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 MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Motivational Techinque
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

A Book of Memories
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Personal Judge
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

How to Vow Your Audience
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Kinder and Gentler Killers
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

The Longest Journey Ever
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

ArtScroll

Money And The Kids
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

From Rock Bottom to Bottoms Up
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Cities of Refuge: Sanctuary for Survival
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

On the Road Again (to Repentance)
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Just Passing Through
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

> Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

His Way is the Right Way
Shlomo Katz - 5759

In a Month We Call -“Av”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Manifestations of Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758



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