Office of the Chief Rabbi

D’var Torah: Parashat Bereishit

In this week’s D’var Torah the Chief Rabbi learns from Parashat Bereishit that truth will always prevail.

In the biblical account of creation Hashem declares: “Na’aseh Adam b’Tzalmenu k’Dmutenu– let us make man in our image, in our form.” Why is this in the plural? The Midrash in Bereishit Rabbah explains that at that point, Hashem consulted with the celestial forces above, with the four prime angels: chesed – loving kindness, emet – truth, shalom – peace and tzedek – justice.

So God said to the four of them: “should I create people?” Chesed – loving kindness said “Of course you should God, there will be so many ma’asim tovim – wonderful, good and kind deeds that will be performed on earth.”

So God said to the four of them: “should I create people?”

Emet – truth said “No God! Don’t create people; this world will be filled with falsehood and lies.”

Then Hashem said to shalom “Should I create people?” Peace said “No don’t! The world will be filled with hatred, with friction, with tension, with wars and conflicts.” And then Hashem turned to tzedek and justice replied “Yes. You should create people. After all we should give them the benefit of the doubt to prove themselves. You will see there’ll be a propensity amongst mankind to be just.”

Now if you’ve been adding up the votes you’ll realise that it was a two-all draw. So what did Hashem do? The Midrash then quotes Daniel Chapter Eight “Hishlich Emet Artzah – God cast truth to the ground.”

Therefore it was a 2-1 victory for the creation of mankind and the rest is all history. I’ve been intrigued by the fact that Hashem sent truth out of the room and not peace. After all, both were against the creation of humankind.

I think there’s a profound message here and that is: in the presence of truth; truth will always prevail. If you are a single, solitary voice, if you know that what you’re standing for and what you’re upholding is the truth, then it doesn’t matter that there could be a wave of indignation from those who are against us. If we know in our heart of hearts that we are right, then ultimately, our view will prevail. All of this is actually represented by the word emet: the word itself stands! The letters of emet: aleph mem and taf all have two legs. However, with sheker – falsehood, the shin written in the Torah is pointed at the bottom a bit like a spinning top. Sheker will always topple over.

Therefore the message for us is that truth will always stand.

So therefore the message for us is that truth will always stand. Let us therefore uphold the truth, let’s consult with others, let’s consider what the best path is and ultimately if we know that something is absolutely correct and right – the truth will always prevail.

Shabbat shalom

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