Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Path of the Just

Ch. 11 (Part 10)

By Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

There’s something in the human heart that loves honesty. We admire icons who sacrifice fame and fortune in the name of integrity, we forgive whoever wronged us if he owns up to it in contrition, and we’re most proud of ourselves when we do our best to be open and above-board. And yet, sad to say, we indeed lapse into dishonesty when the temptation is just too great (and sit crestfallen once our dishonesty dawns on us, and we set out to make emends).

Now, there are two areas of honesty which we tend to falter in, as Ramchal sees it. We either take vain oaths, and swear in G-d’s name that so-and-so is true when it’s simply not. Or (on a more subtle level) we sometimes assert something’s true in a robust and full-throated way when it’s actually not, which is as bad as vowing that it’s so. Or we simply lie about things outright.

Ramchal points out that there are different degrees of lying (which he terms a “malady” since it’s so widespread). There are people who lie so consistently that Ramchal depicts them as “professional liars”, given that “they go about concocting utter lies, either for laughs, or to be considered wise or knowledgeable” all the time.

There are others who “aren’t ‘professional’ story-tellers” like those others, still and20all though they “make up stories and give false reports” all the time, “add on whatever (details) occurs to them”, and they do that so often that “it becomes second nature to them”, which makes it “impossible to believe anything they say”.

The final sort (which describes most of us), “whose malady is less serious” than the others, and who “aren’t quite as accustomed to lying (as they), but who’d nonetheless not think of separating themselves from it” since they’d imagine they’re not really liars after all, would still lapse this way. “If the opportunity for a lie would come their way” somehow, “they’d take advantage of it” without a thought. Oh, they might do it “for the sake of a joke, or for some other reason, with no particular malice intended”, but they’d tell the lie nonetheless.

All lying, no matter how innocent or unintentional, would need to be worked on, for "truth is G-d's seal" (Shabbat 55a) we’re taught, and its opposite is simply unacceptable. And as we’d been taught, truth is one of the very foundations upon which the world stands (Pirkei Avot 1:18). So, “when you speak falsely,” Ramchal offers, “it’s as if you were nudging at the world's foundation”, while on the other hand, “when you’re careful about tr uth, you’re like someone who upholds it”, it’s that vital.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON NASO:

View Complete List

The Connection Between The Chapters of Sotah and Nazir
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

My Torah
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Building On The Positive
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Something to Wine About
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Be Committed
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Domestic Harmony and National Peace
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5755

ArtScroll

The Dilemma of Nisanel ben Tzuar
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Learned From Their Mistakes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Strange Verbiage Contains A Beautiful Insight
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

> Life, the Bigger Picture -- Say Cheese!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

An Ever Growing Badge of Courage
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

To Drink or Not to Drink?
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Pennies From Heaven
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Parshas Naso and Chag Shavuos
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

From the Depths of the Heart
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5762

Play It Again, Schloomiel
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756



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