A surprising lesson
G^d wanted a nice People to represent Him on earth and introduce Him to everyone else. A People not eager to kill or lie.
But, G^d sets limits. Not only to good things, like sex, but also to bad ones, like killing. G^d demands that courts try capital offenders and execute.
This should not be seen as the forerunner of present-day countries that put countless people on death row for revenge.
Rather, these murder trials were meant to impress that G^d decides how to do justice, not humans. And He challenged a peaceful People that sometimes, execution is in order.
The Sages understood that they had to try and show that the accused did not meet the criteria for execution. If guilty still, G^d could deal with him.
The Talmud asserts that a court that sees it right to convict more than one person to death in 7 (or 70) years is a bunch of murderers.
And, when, 2000 years ago, murder became rampant, the Sages abolished capital punishment.
When killing is nothing special, capital punishment becomes murder.
In a similar vein, G^d showed (through Prophetess Rebecca) that sometimes we must mislead.
Rather, when handling villains, sometimes, the right thing to do is to vary on truth. Sometimes, when dealing with baddies, we must lie, not be nice.
Just like we must not allow bigots to use democratic rights to uproot equality for all. It is democratic to block anti-democrats.
Jacob’s noteworthy exceptional deception of his dishonest twin, as ordered by his mother, showed that the norm at the time was honesty.
I just realized: the main lesson now is not that lying is sometimes allowed. Rather, the essential message today is that integrity should be the norm.