Lies Reveal Truth About a Liar …writes Rabbi Laibl Wolf

August 19, 2014 by Rabbi Laibl Wolf
Read on for article

Why do people lie? Why state an untruth? A lie contradicts reality. A lie misleads. Lies reveals a defective character. Lies breed more lies. Lies become habitual.

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

Yet lying is as common as the cold. Employers often lie when dismissing employees. Perhaps the lie provides a cushion to assuage guilt. Media lies to its readers and viewers. Perhaps a fertile imagination sells more newspapers and increases ratings. Children lie to their parents – a ploy to escape consequences. Store attendants lie to customers proclaiming the most extravagant praises for atrociously coutured styles designed for matchstick figures. And there is no shortage of car salesmen stories.

People can’t resist the lie to gain an advantage – a monetary advantage, a positional advantage or simply to escape the pain of being caught out.

Which brings us to the interesting distinction between a ‘white lie’ and a blatant lie. Even if a ‘white lie’ serves a higher good while a ‘blatant lie serves the devil, what shall we do about shades of grey?

The Kabbalists observed that the Hebrew word for ‘lie’, sheker, consists of three Hebrew letters, each of which pivots precariously around its pointed base, while the word for ‘truth’, Emet, consists of three letters each of which sits securely on a sturdy base:

 

sheker emet

        

 

 

 

Sheker                                             Emet

 

From which the Kabbalists deduce that a lie brings imbalance to the world while truth assures the world of stability.

So back to the beginning: If there are no redeeming virtues of the lie, why lie?

Beneath the lie lies fear. In fact, underlying every negative human trait lies fear. Fear insinuates itself so subtly into the fabric of human expression that its true motive is rarely apparent. Why does the giant need to chop down Jack and the beanstalk if he is so big? Why does the Nazi killing machine need to humiliate the inmate in the concentration camp in addition to murdering him? Why does the school bully need to pick on those half his size? Fear stems from inadequacy, low self-esteem, and diminished self worth. The giant, the Nazi, and the bully will never be able to hunt down all the Jacks of the world, murder all Jews and gypsies, and bash all undersized school boys – therefore they will continue to be tormented by fear – and lie.

As is now coming out, the reporters in Gaza were ‘forced’ to lie and hide the fact that Hamas rockets were being fired from schools, and that women and children were exploited as human shields. Why? Because the reporter feared he would be sent away from the ‘war theatre’ and be deprived of ‘making news’ and ‘building his career’. Fear warps the truth and breeds lies.

The antidote to fear is the courage to tell the truth. Truth stares fear in the face. Truth allows the soul to express truly. Truth bonds and draws near, while fear disengages and creates distance.

The three Hebrew letters of fear will always be toppled for lack of stability. The three letters for truth will always be rooted to the bedrock and be the true barometer of character, inner strength and humility.

Aristotle and Plato disagreed about the ethics of lying, as did Origen and Augustine. But all agree that truth is a quality that all human beings should cultivate.

The lie reveals the truth about the liar.

Comments

2 Responses to “Lies Reveal Truth About a Liar …writes Rabbi Laibl Wolf”
  1. Rachel says:

    The media and its reporters have a lot to answer for telling lies – deliberate or “forced” – and hiding the truth. They have to apologise for their despicable behaviour, not only to the people of Israel and the IDF, but to their readers and audiences who expect and deserve to know the truth.

  2. Kevin Herbert says:

    Rabbi Wolf:

    You say “As is now coming out, the reporters in Gaza were ‘forced’ to lie and hide the fact that Hamas rockets were being fired from schools, and that women and children were exploited as human shields. Why? Because the reporter feared he would be sent away from the ‘war theatre’ and be deprived of ‘making news’ and ‘building his career’. Fear warps the truth and breeds lies.”

    To which reporter(s) are you referring, as I’d like to identify them.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

    Rules on posting comments