Shlomo Ezagui

Hating the lie or loving the truth?

Eleonora Francesca Grotto

The holy Baal Shem Tov said, “In the book of Psalms compiled by King David, it is written, ‘God is your shadow.’ In the same way, a shadow acts exactly in line with the person’s movements, and so too, God acts according to a person’s deeds. If you bestow kindness and mercy on the poor, God will impart kindness and mercy on you.”

Rabbi Aryeh Levin told his grandson, “There are two types of people. “Those who love truth and those who despise falsehood. “What is the difference between them?”

The grandson thought for a moment and said he did not see a difference.

Said Rabbi Aryeh, “The difference between the two is like the distance between the opposite extremes, west to east.” The one who loves truth (being real and genuine) finds deep down in others the element of virtue, the kernel of true goodness, and he cannot help but love them. And when he discovers another element of truth and honesty the next day, he will love them even more. His love for others is always fortified.

On the other hand, someone who despises lies can spot a lie in another person and find him repulsive. The next day, he may find another falsehood and be repelled even more. In the end, he will hate that person. So, in conclusion, the one who hates falsehood increases loathing and hatefulness. The one who loves truth increases love.”

In the Midrash, it is written that a person accustomed to lying will end up under the guard of “the angel of lies.” This angel does not stop lying to this fellow, fooling the person and being untruthful, allowing the impression that good is wrong and evil is good.

Rabbi Y. Y. Schneerson once said, “The problem with deceitfulness in this world is not so much that it exists.” God created these elements of negativity so human beings could have a choice to deserve and earn rewards. The frustration against untruthfulness and the possibility of an appearance in this world, which is untrue, is that it appears to be authentic and genuine when in truth it is a thin covering over the real deal, which traps so many people.”

The Bible warns us to “distance ourselves” from falsehood, a cautionary statement not issued by any other indiscretion. The signature of God is Truth. Falsehood is ghastlier than all other negative traits because it is a direct challenge against the truth of God Himself. One who speaks the truth (included in this is telling the truth to oneself), however difficult it may be, follows the path of God and merits His blessings. One who chooses falsehood invites upon himself conflict and pain from the domain of obscurity and ambiguity.

The Talmud related the following story: There was once a young man who, since childhood, had always done as he pleased, no matter whether it was right or wrong. One day, feeling remorseful, he went to Rabbi Shimon and told him he wanted to travel a new and better path. Rabbi Shimon told him that he had to watch himself and refrain from telling lies, and he would be saved from transgression. “No problem,” said the young man. Rabbi Shimon had him swear, and the young man went home.

Sometime later, the young man was in his neighbor’s home and, failing to control himself, stole some gold and silver. As he left, he thought, “What will I tell the neighbor when she asks about her possessions?” If I deny taking them, it will be a lie, and what will become of my oath?” He then returned whatever he had stolen and understood the wisdom of Rabbi Shimon.

Chapter 222

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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