Kenneth Cohen

Truth and Fighting Evil

Yakov Avinu is known for possessing the attribute of אמת, or truth. This is somewhat puzzling, when we see how he cleverly dealt with Eisav.

The Rabbis referred to Eisav, as עשו הרשע, the evil Eisav. He epitomized evil in all respects. He was a murderer and rapist, and made light of the belief in G-d. He denied the idea of an afterlife, and was seen as a very dangerous individual.
Yakov was seen as a simple, innocent person, who devoted his life to Torah study and his devotion to G-d. The Midrash says that he spent fourteen years, studying day and night.

The Torah is teaching us, through Yakov, how to deal with Eisav. He was not able to act with his innocent nature. Had he done so, he would have been devoured by his brother, and later, by his father in-law, Lavan. The truthful thing to do when dealing with evil, is to outsmart it.

King David made this point in Psalms, when he clarified that we need to act differently when we interact with a wise, pious man, and a crook.

It was unavoidable for him, not to have taken the birthright as he did. And similarly, he needed to make a deal with Lavan to take the spotted and striped sheep, in order to receive his just wage.

Today, Israel is waking up to the heavy price we have paid in assuming our enemy had the same moral standard as us. We were in denial of the fact that we were dealing with an enemy that never wanted to make peace with us. All they ever wanted, was our complete destruction.

We must look evil in the face and eliminate it. We must know our enemy, and accept the reality. Thankfully, Hashem has been with us in time to correct our mistakes of the past. We must complete our mission and destroy our enemy. This is what our love of truth, demands of us.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at