Wednesday, May 13, 2009

To Tell the Truth...

The Shelah Hakadosh, zt”l, writes that one who wishes to be certain that his children will follow in the way of Torah will do his utmost to inculcate in them the importance of being truthful. He tells of a certain man, with whom he often spent time. “He was one of the noble and pious Sefardim who would not tell even the smallest lie for any price. When I asked him how he had attained this precious trait, he explained that this was all due to his father. He would reward his children with many coins for every truthful word. At the same time, any falsehood uttered would be severely punished. In this manner, he inculcated in his children the importance of truth to such an extent that truthfulness entered his blood and soul.”
The Midrash recounts the power of always being truthful with the following inspiring story:
A certain young man had a natural propensity to steal. After he acted on this impulse numerous times, he felt so bad about himself that he decided that he would do anything to enable him to stop such sinful behavior. But he did not know what to do or how to rectify this character defect. He went before Rav Shimon ben Shetach and begged the Rav to tell him how to do a true teshuvah.
The Rav recommended that the young man accept upon himself never to lie under any circumstances. “This is a small thing!” the young man commented. He immediately took upon himself never to speak a false word no matter what.
A short time went by and this young man was once again assailed by an inner desire to steal. He broke into a stranger’s house and took everything of value. As he was ready to leave with his ill gotten gains, he was struck with a sudden thought. “What will I do if I am accused of emptying this house of its valuables? I cannot deny that I am guilty as charged since that would be a lie!”
He immediately returned everything he had taken and became a complete ba’al teshuvah!


Devorah said...

My father once shlepped a book across the world, from Australia to London, to return it to a library.

The book was left to him by a friend of his who had really passed away, but inside the book was a stamp of the British Museum library in London, stating that it should not be removed from the library.

Although he had intended at some stage to travel to London, he brought his trip forward in order to make sure that the book was returned to its rightful owner as soon as possible.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Wow! Clearly a great man.