Dealing With Dishonesty

We can communicate the importance of honesty to our children by being honest ourselves.

Commentary on Parashat Vayetzei, Genesis 28:10 - 32:3

There are times when we all deny the truth, especially when accused.  hen Adam was accused of eating the apple by God, he blamed it on Eve, and she blamed it on the snake. It’s difficult to confront people directly with the truth when we know they are lying. It can be easier to go along with whatever dishonesty another person is perpetuating rather than confront him or her.

We can take a lesson from our patriarch Jacob in this week’s Torah portion, Vayetze. Laban, his father-in-law, tricked Jacob by giving him Leah first as a wife, when the younger sister Rachel had been promised. Jacob says to him, “It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times.” After twenty years of living under the thumb of his father-in-law, he courageously confronts him directly with the truth.

We can communicate the importance of honesty to our children by being honest ourselves and calling others on their dishonesty, including our children. There are many acts that we don’t want to own up to in our lives. But perpetuating lies by being silent can be very destructive in the life of a family. It can teach children that they should construct a false self to present to the world in order to be safe. Better and more courageous to be as honest as possible in our day-to-day dealings, so that children can learn the same.

TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN about the importance of honesty.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

· Did you ever catch one of your friends in a lie?

· How did that make you feel?

· How did you respond?

· In what other ways could you have responded?

From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.

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