Sunday, May 14, 2006

The truth? You can't handle the truth!

(not the) Godol Hador: We believe ‘emmes’ is the ONLY fundamental, and emmes must be pursued at all times.

The only fundamental? What about justice? What about peace? What about honor? What about compassion?

At times these values (and others) clash with truth. Moreover, the Torah at times sacrifices truth -and bids us to sacrifice truth- for the sake of these values, and others like it. Va'asita et hatov v'hayashar is what we're told to do - even if the truth might suggest another path. Vahavta l'reacha komocha is the Torah's law- no matter what the truth might be. In fact, when the Torah discusses truth it has this to say: m'dvar sheker tirchak: distance yourself from falsehood. We're not told to distance ourselves from chillul shabos or to distance ourselves from murder; in those cases the instructions are clear: Don't do it. So why doesn't the Torah say "Do not lie?" Because it recognizes that lies -half-lies anyway- are, at times, essential is other values are to be perserved.

Look, ntGH, I know what you mean. You're trying to say that you'll follow the evidence wherever it takes you. That's fine -no, brilliant- but still, it's different then saying that "emes is the only fundemental."

Someone who thinks emes is the only fundemental thinks its requiredto tell his wife the truth when she asks if she's gained weight, but the Torah isn't a suicide pact.

Someone who follows the evidence wherever it leads doesn't lie to himself when the proof is overwhelming, yet still understands that certain truths aren't for everyone (hamaskil yidom) and that other truths should be de-empahsized when other values are at stake.


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