Rabbi Yaakov Bronsteyn

In the epoch of the Messiah, veracity will be scarce (TB Sotah 49b).

This predicts that falsehood will seep into civilization. It’s a message to those in that epoch, who were so inclined, never to give up proliferating truth to the point of its insertion into the societal fabric, hindering its fray.

But, what is the truth that one is encouraged to propagate? Living within the confines of our society it is hard to grasp. Echoes bounce off walls declaring that it’s your truth that matters.

This, of course, presupposes that truth is nonexistent because its presence is irreconcilable with multitudinous perspectives that are mutually exclusive.

For example, one says that my truth is that the Sun is in the sky while the other says that my truth is that the Sun is not in the sky. They both can’t be right. They are either both wrong or one of them is right.

The answer is that dearth of truth is tantamount to Godlessness because the signet of God is truth (TB Shabbos 55a). Ipso facto, the pursuit of knowledge of God will yield the unveiling of truth.

How does one know the truth that there are men and women? That they have different roles? That the familial structure is the foundation of society? That procreation is a value and a mitzvah? That stealing and murder are wrong? That the struggle between good and evil is what’s weighty? That racial profiles or affiliation with a specific group are insignificant to one’s innate opportunity? Personal accomplishment is the only element that affords one privilege as a matter of consequence.

Regarding Devorah being a Prophetess and serving as a Justice adjudicating Jewish Law, Tannah Debei Eliyahu (Rabbah Chapter 9) declares, “I attest upon myself with the Heaven and the Earth that whether one is Jewish, non-Jewish, man or woman, servant or maid-servant, everything is according to one’s deeds. Proportionate to those deeds will the Divine Presence be manifest in their lives.”

One can only know truth by knowing God. One can only know God by studying His manifesto, the Torah.

Not only are we to engage in loftiness. But, it is incumbent upon us to instill it in our children (TB Kiddushin 29a).

If our progeny fails to imbed it in the inner recesses of their consciousness and apply it to their daily lives then we have ceased to live. For one who doesn’t spring forth into the future is reckoned to be dead (see Gur Aryeh, Genesis 30:1).

This is why this week’s portion informs us that the spirit of Yaakov was enlivened (Genesis 45:27). Yaakov was apprehensive of Yosef’s spiritual state. Living in Egypt must have worn Yosef down. The depravity and dispensation of morals that was prevalent in that society certainly frayed the spirituality of Yosef until he was reduced to a shadow of his old self.

That’s what Yaakov thought was the most likely scenario. But, when he heard that Yosef was still studying the Torah (Rashi, Ibid) his anxiety dissipated leaving in its wake the elation one feels when they recognize that they are still alive because their progeny continues to plod forward spiritually. JN

Rabbi Yaakov Bronsteyn is a community rabbi. To listen to his podcast, go to tinyurl.com/5jc4zx8r.