Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Keep Your Distance I

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

And the men [i.e., the Divine emissaries] left. (Bereshith 18:16)

Since the Divine emissaries were posing as Avraham’s guests, there must have been a reason for their abrupt exit. Although Sarah laughed when she heard that she would bear Avraham a son, when confronted about her act, she denied having done so. Purely spiritual beings cannot tolerate the slightest hint of falsehood. For this reason they left immediately after these untrue words were spoken(1).

This attitude towards falsehood is expressed in the very words of the Torah: “Midevar sheker tirchak (2) – Distance yourself from a false thing,” which themselves express the repulsive nature of sheker – falsehood. The Torah’s use of the term davar – thing – indicates that even the minutest hint of falsehood is to be avoided at all costs, while the word tirchak – distance yourself – comes to teach us how very disgusting sheker is (3).

The Sefer HaChinuch speaks at great length about the loathsome nature of sheker: “Falsehood is universally scorned and hated, for nothing is so disgusting. All who affiliate themselves with any form of falsehood will find a curse and a plague upon their homes, for the Almighty is truth, and everything that is associated with Him is truth. Real prosperity is found only among those who are consistently truthful in their actions, who follow in God’s ways of truth.

“All whose actions are contrary to God’s actions – the masters of deception – will eventually face the opposite of prosperity; they will suffer from curse, plague, anguish, arguments, and pain. Because of the despicable nature of falsehood, the Torah commanded us to distance ourselves from it. This terminology is employed relative to no other prohibition. One should not so much as incline one’s ears towards something which is potentially false, as our Sages tell us “Distance yourself from that which is abhorrent (4).”


(1) Chofetz Chaim commentary on Bereshith 18:16.

(2) Shemoth 23:7.

(3) Yad HaKetanah, Hilchos De’oth, ch. 10:1.

(4) Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 74.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON REEH:

View Complete List

Seeing Clearly
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Ashrei!
Shlomo Katz - 5773

The Value of Pricelessness
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

ArtScroll

From Hand to Heart
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

The Street
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Tough Love
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

We Remain G-d's Children
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Let's Stick Together
Shlomo Katz - 5766

The King's Children
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Don't Give It Personally
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Chosen and Tough
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

The Vineyard
Shlomo Katz - 5772

> Of Visions and Decisions
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Free-Will
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Opportunity for Blessing
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Olympic Success... or Failure?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 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