Geneivat da’at – Avoid Deception
Tell the truth! (Leviticus 19:11)
Six months have passed since we began Emeth’s Year of Living Jewishly. Since Yom Kippur, I have presented to you a “mitzvah of the week” to teach everyone that living Jewishly occurs every day, throughout the day. I’ve presented simple activities for you to do as you practice each week’s mitzvah. Hopefully when the week is over, you don’t stop engaging in that mitzvah, but rather you are accumulating ways to enhance your Jewish life and bring you closer to the Holy One. I am curious – have you been engaging in these mitzvot (plural of mitzvah)? What has been your experience? If you haven’t, it’s not too late to start, with these week’s mitzvah. (To see our past mitzvot of the week, check the Rabbi’s blog by clicking here.)
I think it’s a safe assumption that all of us intend to tell the truth, every day, all day, all the time. But how often do we tell that little white lie, or exaggerate the truth, or “bear false witness” by claiming something that isn’t so? This week, the b’nai mitzvah class who drew this card* are keeping a list of every opportunity they encounter every day to tell a lie, and when they give in to the temptation and when they overcome it. They are also are reporting on when they decide a “white lie” is better than telling the truth. I encourage you to do the same thing. Write it down, every day, and at the end of the week look at how easy it is to exaggerate the truth.
May you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of Peace,
Rabbi Debbie Israel
* Each week the students pick a card from Reclaiming Judaism’s pack of Mitzvah Cards. By an amazing coincidence, Truth is also the topic of the adult study group’s Mussar class. So here’s an opportunity for the entire congregation to be engaged in truth-telling!