This week’s mitzvah (commandment) comes from the Ninth Commandment: You shall not bear false witness. Included in this prohibition is all forms of sins relating to speech. The commandment implicitly means that we have the responsibility to tell the truth at all times.
In reporting truthfully, we must avoid exaggeration or leaving out important details. Many of us (all of us?) have at some time spread gossip that we didn’t know to be true but we reported it as if it were true. We spoke as if we were a witness when really we were passing on information given to us without verification.
This is a simple commandment for each of us to do or so it seems. So I am going to complicate it a little. Think back to those times you spread rumors, or those times you blamed someone else for something you did or neglected to do. Children are notorious for passing blame to a sibling. So think back to those times in order to make this commandment concrete for you. Then, if possible, find one person you harmed with your false testimony and apologize. Often the mitzvah of the week brings an ethical or moral characteristic or quality to one’s consciousness so that we can be attentive to it in our future interactions.
I will be on vacation until but I hope you continue selecting and performing a mitzvah of each week! Remember, lighting the Chanukah candles is a mitzvah too!
Chag Chanukah sameach (happy Chanukah)!
Rabbi Debbie Israel