Vayechi: The Lie of our Selves

Think not I am what I appear.  -Lord Byron

Life is filled with secrets and mysteries. Fantasies and illusions. Facades and deceptions. One of the greatest deceptions may be our corporal selves. Though our bodies appear solid, take up space, have mass, are capable of movement, of feeling, of action, there is something intrinsically deceptive about them.

We are so used to thinking of ourselves as the composite of the molecules enclosed by our skin that it may difficult to think of our physical embodiment as a lie – and a short-lived one at that.

When talking about the Patriarch Jacob and his death, the Sfat Emet in 5633 (1872) explains that our superficial, corporal, material selves is not our true self. Our true self is the inner, intangible, spiritual entity. Because our bodies are limited and do not last, then they do not reflect the truth. They are lies, and lies are eventually revealed to be ephemeral, of limited effect and duration. The surface merely hides the truth within. Often, the greater the superficiality, the deeper the truth that is hidden inside.

The Sfat Emet states that there is one surefire way to access that truth, to connect to the real part of ourselves – and that is by seeking the will of God. God is the ultimate truth, and by latching on to Him we reinforce the true part of ourselves.

May we see past all the lies and understand what is real.

Shabbat  Shalom,



To FC Barcelona for winning the Club World Cup Final. Suarez made Uruguayans very proud.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He is the author of six books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. He is the publisher of Torah.Works, a website dedicated to the exploration of classic Jewish texts, as well as TweetYomi, which publishes daily Torah tweets on Parsha, Mishna, Daf, Rambam, Halacha, Tanya and Emuna. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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