This seems like a no brainer.
Human beings have many relationships in life. With our parents and siblings, family members and friends, with our spouses, with nature and the world around us, and of course with Hashem. In order to truly love, we must have honesty and trust, otherwise people will never fully be themselves. And being our true self is a must for any relationship to work. Society has given us far too many masks, and the internet is only the latest and greatest version. I have written a lot about how social media and Facebook requires us to hide a great deal and present only the “best”, even when this is not the truth. Sadly, people are afraid of flaws and honesty. People don’t want to hear about our suffering, lack of work or frustrations… so we cover over ourselves, mask the truth and thus lose honesty, because we are afraid to trust.
We must give ourselves over to the idea that we cannot change the past, the truth or people. Learn from yes, change, no. Though the truth has become a rather interesting, and, well, fluid thing these days. While I will steer away from the political perils of this idea, I will say that the truth is the truth. Period. And as Jews, it is essential that we understand this. Our very religion and thus our very existence is based on this.
If we want to discuss and debate the facts and our perspectives on it, by all means. This is essential and a big part of what Judaism is all about. But if we are in disagreement over what the actual truth and facts are, then we are in a bit of trouble. Actually, we are in a lot of trouble.The days of the Sanhedrin are gone, and this is not really a good thing. They discussed and debated, argued and pondered, and when they declared something, people respected it and accepted it. As I wrote last week, it is something we could use more of these days.
Too often people try to be “kind” by ignoring the truth, or white washing it. This is actually not kind at all. While there are diplomatic ways to say something… and kind ways to behave, we should never deny the truth to ourselves or our loved ones. They call it brutal honesty for a reason. Now again, anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows there are nuances to this, and ways we must behave… there can be no brutality… but if everyone is actually pursuing the truth, and trusting each other, kindness is almost always right there. While we do not have to be cruel to be kind, we do have to be honest and trustworthy… and we MUST be able to trust those around us.
Kindness is an essential element to life. Don’t get me wrong. We must ALWAYS do the right thing… But when we are on the path to connections in our relationships with our spouse, with our loved ones, with Hashem and with Torah, kindness is given birth and life. When we see the truth in Torah and have a relationship with it… when we see the truth in Hashem and have a relationship with Him… and when we see the truth in love and have a true relationship with our loved ones… spouses and family and friends… there, we will find kindness, too.So pursue the truth, no matter where it takes you. The truth will set you free and define everything. Trust in Hashem, yourself and those around you. And build your life in knowing that life is defined by our mortality… for in actuality, as Rabbi Avi Rabin said the other night… You only live once is incorrect… “You only DIE once. You live life everyday.”
Thanks to Rabbi Avi Rabin and the vibrant Chabad Of West Hills Mensch Club for these ideas and lessons.