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Real, Facts and Newt

Thursday, 15 December, 2011 - 11:59 am

A Word From The Rabbi

You got to be honest. Do not tell a lie. In the words of the Torah: "Distance yourself from a false matter" Exodus 23;7. In Harry Frankfurt’s book, titled On Bullshit (Princeton University Press; 2005), he helps define the meaning of the word. In a nutshell, it is characterized as deceptive misrepresentation, short of lying, especially by pretentious word or deed, of somebody’s own thoughts, feelings, or attitudes.

I do not like to discuss politics. However, I will bring an example from Newt Gingrich, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. He told "the Jewish Channel": “the Palestinians are ‘an invented people’”. When challenged whether he really believes what he said, his response was: "Is what I said factually correct? Yes. Is it historically true? Yes”. He spoke about facts and history - some of which can be found here. The question remains whether he believes in what he said (I’ll leave that for the political commentators to answer).

There are those people who act like you are a good friend but in reality, the friendship is ‘a means to an end’. They want something from you. For you to buy their product, to donate to their organization, or for them to learn what you are doing that they are not (competitors do this), etc. Then there are other people who are dead honest - some may call them blunt - but when they befriend you they are a genuine friend. If they have an issue they will tell you and either you resolve it or your friendship is over. (Of course there are those in between as well).

In this week’s Torah portion it speaks of Joseph's brothers’ jealousy of the preferential treatment he received from their father. We also read about how Joseph relates to his brothers two of his dreams which foretell that he is destined to rule over them. This increases their envy and hatred towards him. The Torah goes on to say that Joseph's brothers could not speak to him peacefully. Why not? Because they did not say one thing with their mouth while thinking differently in their heart. We can learn from them and try to emulate them in this way.

We should learn to be genuine people. When we are friends with people it should be more then "facebook friends". We should be true friends in a real way. We should actually get to know them. True, it takes time and commitment. True, there will be painful breakups (see story of Joseph Part 1. But, there will also be powerful reunions (Joseph’s story Part 2).

Have a Great Shabbos!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. Please Join Us in Celebrating Chanukkah
Sunday Oct 18 1-4 pm at Chabad (More Info)
Tuesday Oct 20 4:30-5:30 pm (More Info)
can't make it? join the afterparty at Sean Bolans

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