How many times have we used the phrase: “The truth is…”? Well, the truth is…that truth is often elusive. Our weekly Torah portion, Shof’tim [Judges], reminds us of the importance of truth as a foundational value in our lives and in society. “You shall not judge unfairly; you shall show no partiality; you shall not take bribes, for bribes blind the eyes of the discerning and upset the plea of the just. Justice, justice shall you pursue…” (Deut. 16:19-20). Again and again in Torah, we are taught to be honest in our dealings with those around us. Whether they are rich or poor, “one of us” or “strangers” – the Torah exhorts us to be honest and truthful in our dealings with people. And, particularly in the month of Elul, our Sages remind us to be honest with ourselves as we prepare ourselves for the approaching new Jewish year.
Interestingly, in Judaism, one of the ways we describe God is: “the God of Truth.” And, when the prophets and sages suggest to us that we do our best to walk in Gods ways, they invite us to imitate the beneficent qualities of God. Just as God takes care of the needy, so too must we take care of the needy. Just as God comforts the bereaved, so too must we comfort the bereaved. Following the same logic, might we conclude that we should also do our best to imitate “the God of Truth”?
A Chasidic master, Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk, taught: “One can imitate everything in the world except truth, for truth that is imitated is no longer truth.” Truth must spring from the depths of our souls.
May our connections with God, and with the teachings of Torah, heighten our sensitivity to deeper and more just truths. And may those deeper and more just truths lead us all to a spiritual place of greater peace and blessing.
Rabbi Gilah Dror