A very significant law is found in this week’s Torah Portion. We are told: MIDVAR SHEKER TIRCHAK, “You shall distance (go far away) from a false word. (Ex. 23:7) This, of course, is an admonition to avoid telling a falsehood. Why did the Torah not simply say “Do not tell a lie” like it says you should not kill or you should not steal? Why does it prohibit lying in such a round about fashion?
The answer is that it is not enough not to lie. You must also avoid associating with anyone who tells lies. Lying can be the foundation of many quarrels in a family and many disputes among friends and certainly many wars among nations. LASHON HARAH is often based on outright lies or in stretching the truth.
We have seen how evil nations use lies to gain support among their people and friends among other nations. One of Hitler’s major philosophies was to tell the lie often enough and people will begin to believe you, even if what you are telling is so false and so unbelievable. In our own time, we see Arafat using lies and falsehoods to gain the world’s sympathy. He keeps denying facts and keeps twisting history to suit his own needs. Unfortunately, the world hears his lies often enough that it believes them.
In our private lives we must be careful not to lie. That is really obvious. What we have to be alerted to, is that we do not begin to believe things that are not true but we say them to ourselves so often that we begin to believe them. We must be extremely careful of what we think and what we believe. Get as far away from falsehood as you possibly can. Do not think them and do not listen to them.