Kenneth Cohen

Truth and Peace

It is a well known principle in Judaism that in order to achieve Shalom, peace, there must be Emet, truth alongside it. This is a true on a national level, but especially true on a personal level.

It is necessary that one must distance himself from all types of falsehood. This a verse in the Torah that verifies this with the words, מדבר שקר תרחק, urging every Jew to stay away from lies.

King Solomon made this point numerous times in the Book of Mishlei. He made it clear that Hashem, Himself, despises lies and falsehood. He said that he would forfeit great wealth rather than accept such dishonesty and deception.

Courage is required to be prepared to admit that specific individuals who have been a part of our lives, are not what they pretend to be. This can even include relatives that try to pass themselves off as loyal and caring, when it is not truthful. These are the most difficult situations when we realize that the best thing for us is to cut off ties with the insincere, that really want to harm us.

There are even morning prayers where we ask for Divine help that we succeed in being able to stay far away from bad people, bad neighbors and bad friends.
Looking at truthfulness may not be easy, but it will ultimately lead to real peace. Honesty is the best policy, and through it, we will be able to attach ourselves to holiness and all that is good in the world.

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