Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Taking Truth To Heart I

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

When Avram was ninety-nine years old God appeared to him and said, “I am the Almighty. Walk before Me and be perfect.” (Bereshith 17:1)

Tamim – perfect – means that there is no contradiction between one’s inner feelings and one’s external actions – that one’s actions are in perfect harmony with the feelings in one’s heart. Although every mitzvah is precious in God’s eyes, one done in such a fashion is especially dear, for it is an unequivocal declaration of Divine greatness. Because it is often difficult to achieve absolute synchronization between one’s heart and one’s actions, this praise is reserved only for the truly righteous.(1)

One who studies Torah is expected to strive to attain this quality, and if he is satisfied by superficially acting out the precepts that he has learned, he lacks an important characteristic of a Torah scholar.(2) In accordance with this, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would not give his approbation to a book on ethics unless he knew that the author’s daily life was a reflection of all that he had written. Since an approbation confirms the acceptability of the book’s author, not just its contents, he felt that such a recommendation would not be absolutely true if he gave it to someone who professed values that he did not live up to.(3)

In its proper form this attribute is meant to permeate every aspect of ones being, especially speech. A person who lacks tamimuth is hypocritical, saying one thing while he really means something completely different. King Dovid expressed this eloquently when he said, “Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from deception.”(4) Evil is associated with the tongue and deception with the lips, because although an evil person acts improperly, at least he does not disguise his bad intentions. Since his behavior is consistent with his intentions, he is identified with the tongue, which is a single entity. A deceitful individual, however, pretends to befriend others, while in his heart his intention is to harm them. Like the deceitful person, the lips are split across the middle and divided in two.(5)


1. Rabbeinu Bachyeh on Bereshith 17:1.

2. Yoma 72b.

3. Me’or HaGadol, p. 137.

4. Tehillim 34:14.

5. Vilna Gaon commentary on Mishlei 2:12.


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON NASO:

View Complete List

Building On The Positive
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Levi Genes
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Lessons Learned From Gifts of the Nesiim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

ArtScroll

Play It Again, Schloomiel
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

A Little Peace in Our Time
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Achieving Sanctity
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

> Learned From Their Mistakes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Out Of Control
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

The Missing 18 Months
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Small Talk
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Shalom Bayis
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Ups and Downs
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Who Loves You!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Levi-like Actions
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Just Say 'No'
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Relationship of Domestic Harmony to National Peace
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775



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