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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Beresheet: Parashat Vayese: Truth vs. Sheqer

Contributed by: Rabbi Haim Shaul

"Truth is a heavy burden, therefore its bearers are few." –Mishleh

"If you never like, you never have to remember anything." –Mark Twain

The Talmoud states that all beginnings are difficult. This is especially true with the life of Yaakob. When Yaakob began his life as the forefather of our nation, he had to overcome one of his biggest tests, to live in the house of Lavan. Lavan was an individual who personified trickery and deceit, and still to remain faithful to his own personal moral code.

The difference between "truth" ("emet") and "lies" ("sheqer") is sealed in our Torah, which we call "Torat Emet". The Talmoud Yeroushalmi states that the world was created with the letters of the Aleph Bet. This means that each day of creation was created by 3 letters (the math is simple: 22 letters in the Aleph Bet divided by 7 days of creation = 3 letters per day).

The creation started with the letter "Bet" (Beresheet), therefore the first three letters of the first day are Bet, Gimmel, Dalet, which add up to the number 9.

When adding the next 3 letters for each day of creation, it also adds up to 9 (after removing the zeros).

[Day 2: Heh (5) + Vav (6) + Zayin (7) = 18 ----- 1 + 8 = 9]
[Day 3: Het (8) + Tet (9) + Yod (10) = 27 ------ 2+7 = 9]
[and so forth.]

The word "Emet" - "truth", adds up to 9 (after removing the zeros) to say that the world was created with truth. If however, the world would start with an "Aleph" (which symbolizes a person's selfishness) then each one of the days of creation would add up to the number 6 (after removing the zeros)

The word "sheqer" – "lies" adds up to 6 (after removing the zeros).

This teaches us that selfishness is the foundation of deceit.
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