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    You & the truth – Nitzavim

    Emet emes truthThe portion this week commences with the bold announcement, attem nitzavim hayom kull’chem, “You stand, all of you, this day before the Lord your God”.

    The Kotzker Rebbe noticed that the letters of attem a-t-m – are the same as emet, truth.

    He commented, “Truth is what enables you to stand. The opposite, falsehood, is sheker, made up of another three letters, sh-k-r, each of which is written without a base and pivots on one leg, symbolising that sheker ein lo raglayim – ‘falsehood has no feet to stand on’”.

    A Hebrew writer said, “When Falsehood saw that he had no feet, he made himself wings”.

    The meaning is that lies constantly fly and float around us, and the art of the wise person is to see them for what they are and to resist their attraction.

    Of course this is a universal, eternal problem, but it seems especially alive today when so many people listen to rumours, peddle half-truths and never bother to check their facts.

    Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said that falsehood kills the divinity in man.

    When the sages said that truth is the seal of the Holy One, Blessed be He (Shab. 55a), they meant that someone who stands for the truth at all times bears the mark of God on their forehead.

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