You don't have to always tell the truth!

Thursday, 19 January, 2017 - 12:39 pm

Tomorrow is the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, the 45th US president. Some people are thrilled, while others are upset about his winning the presidency. When I check my Facebook feed, I see individuals who are going to the inauguration with happiness and excitement to celebrate the presidency of the person they voted for and others heading to protest or otherwise showing their discomfort with his becoming president.

As one who stays out of politics, I want to share with you a thought about people and social interactions. You do not have to always tell the truth!

When we go on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and we share a piece of information, pro-or-against anybody or their ideology, do we actually gain anything? Do we succeed in convincing our neighbor or friend to our way of thinking? Have we alienated friends who we love and care about for no good reason?

In this week's Torah portion Moses "teaches this" to G-d! The Talmud teaches (Brachot 9B) that when Moses told G-d that the Israelites would ask to know His Name, G-d told him to tell them that His name is: “I will be who I will be” (Ex.3:14). G-d was telling Moses to tell the Jews “I was with you in this enslavement, and I will be with you in the enslavements of your future exiles”. Moses protested: “Master of the World, it is enough for one affliction to be mentioned in its own time!” Therefore, G-d told Moses to tell the Jewish people that His name is "I will be" (sent me to you to redeem you).

I think G-d is saying to never tell a lie. However, just because it is true, does not mean you need to say it. That person, who is on a different side of the political or religious spectrum, love them, hang out with them and do not discuss the subjects that will cause a visceral disagreement.

Once the relationship surpasses the Facebook friendship, try sitting down for coffee and discussing your values, you will be surprised to learn that you and your friend agree on much more then you disagree about.

If you want to have a positive effect on others, sometimes the best thing is to say nothing - even the truth.

Have a good shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 



Comments on: You don't have to always tell the truth!
There are no comments.