Truth; Our Most Powerful Weapon

   The Friday before Mother’s Day my mother reached her final battle with cancer.  For 5 years she had fought tooth and nail, never willing to admit even the possibility of defeat. That Friday, her last chemotherapy session, the cancer had destroyed too much of her liver and the bodily could no longer detoxify the poisons in her system.  She became demented from poisons passing into the brain and the doctors gave her only 7-10 days to live. 


   Some did not want to tell her.  Being demented she did not know what was going on around her so, why not let her die without suffering from the bad news.  I felt that she had a right to know.  She had a right to a chance to make peace.


   A few days later I had a chance to be alone with her in the hospital.  As soon as the other visitors left she immediately started asking questions.  Even in her confused state of mind she knew something was going on.  “I don’t understand. They keep talking about my liver. What is everyone talking about?  I’m confused.”  I tried to break it to her subtly but she just kept repeating “I’m confused, I’m confused.”  I could not bring myself to say the “D” word; “You’re going to Die.”  Finally, I told her that the doctors gave her only 7 days left to live.”  She understood and realizing the battle was over.  Her response was immediate, “OH NO! IT CAN”T BE. NO. OH NO, OH NO.”  I sat with her for a while more while she wailed over the horrible news.  Finally, I had to leave, wondering if I had made a terrible mistake in telling her.


  The next day I spoke to my sister and told her what had happened.  It helped her understand my mother’s reaction from that morning.  When her visitors tried to tell her that “everything was going to be OK” my mother said, even from her confused state, “No, I know.  It is OK, I know.”  That night she had begun to find a level of acceptance.  Once she knew the truth she was able to deal with it.

   “…He feels enmity in his heart for a fellow Jew…rejecting him by this hatred.1  Too often relationships are broken and barriers erected because someone is offended and angry. This causes disunity among the souls of Israel.


   To an objective listener the reasons for the rejection usually don’t sound that bad.  Many times it is a misunderstanding.  The offending person did not mean to hurt and may not even be aware that they did anything.


   Most things that anger a person are qualities that he sees within himself but doesn’t want to admit.  A person does not want to face the truth so he becomes angry with someone else to draw his attention away.


   People can handle the truth.  The hard part is not handling the truth, it is admitting the truth. Hiding the truth from our selves is like holding an inflated beach ball under the water.  It requires a lot of effort and concentration to keep it from slipping away and popping up.  People spend a tremendous amount of energy hiding the truth from themselves and others.  A lot of energy that could instead go into study, keeping mitzvoth, or helping the community.


   When it comes to growing admitting the truth is our most powerful weapon.

1. The Mitzvah to Love Your Fellow as Yourself, Rabbi Menachem Mendel







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