Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Keep Your Distance I

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

And the men [i.e., the Divine emissaries] left. (Bereshith 18:16)

Since the Divine emissaries were posing as Avraham’s guests, there must have been a reason for their abrupt exit. Although Sarah laughed when she heard that she would bear Avraham a son, when confronted about her act, she denied having done so. Purely spiritual beings cannot tolerate the slightest hint of falsehood. For this reason they left immediately after these untrue words were spoken(1).

This attitude towards falsehood is expressed in the very words of the Torah: “Midevar sheker tirchak (2) – Distance yourself from a false thing,” which themselves express the repulsive nature of sheker – falsehood. The Torah’s use of the term davar – thing – indicates that even the minutest hint of falsehood is to be avoided at all costs, while the word tirchak – distance yourself – comes to teach us how very disgusting sheker is (3).

The Sefer HaChinuch speaks at great length about the loathsome nature of sheker: “Falsehood is universally scorned and hated, for nothing is so disgusting. All who affiliate themselves with any form of falsehood will find a curse and a plague upon their homes, for the Almighty is truth, and everything that is associated with Him is truth. Real prosperity is found only among those who are consistently truthful in their actions, who follow in God’s ways of truth.

“All whose actions are contrary to God’s actions – the masters of deception – will eventually face the opposite of prosperity; they will suffer from curse, plague, anguish, arguments, and pain. Because of the despicable nature of falsehood, the Torah commanded us to distance ourselves from it. This terminology is employed relative to no other prohibition. One should not so much as incline one’s ears towards something which is potentially false, as our Sages tell us “Distance yourself from that which is abhorrent (4).”


(1) Chofetz Chaim commentary on Bereshith 18:16.

(2) Shemoth 23:7.

(3) Yad HaKetanah, Hilchos De’oth, ch. 10:1.

(4) Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 74.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON ACHAREI MOS AND KEDOSHIM:

View Complete List

Appreciating the Value of the Jew
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Sweet Revenge
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Role of Spouse in Loving One's Neighbor
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

> Who Has To Honor Whom?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Nothing Wasted
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Orlah: Spiritual Barriers
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5767

ArtScroll

Kiddush Moments
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Understand the Warning
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

From the Profanity of Profanities
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Empty Nest
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

In Pursuit Of Holiness
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Children of the King
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

In Bounds
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

"Peripheral Events" May be the Focus of Divine Providence
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

The Shepherd’s Shepherds
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Parshas Kedoshim
Shlomo Katz - 5771



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