"Distance yourself from a false word." Exodus 23:7
The Torah instructs us to distance ourselves, or stay away from anything that has
even a tinge of falsehood.
It was after midnight, on a freezing cold and stormy Friday night in Jerusalem. Rabbi Aryeh Levin had
already retired for the evening when there was a frantic knock on the door. "Rabbi, I need to talk to you, it's an emergency!"
called the man from outside. Rabbi Levin opened the door to find an elderly gentleman drenched from the rain and shivering
from the cold. "Rabbi, unfortunately my wife is mentally ill, and this evening her condition took a terrible turn for the
worse. However, she refuses to be admitted to the psychiatric ward unless she has your approval. That is why I came
in such dreadful weather. I need your word that I am to take her to the hospital so nothing dangerous will happen to her."
The Rabbi answered, "Please go and tell your wife that I instruct her to go to the hospital and I pray that she will
soon be well again." The man sighed, "Thank you, Rabbi. You have really saved me. I will go and tell her right away."
The next morning the Rabbi told his son this story. He said, "You know most of us would hear this story
and say, "Why go all that way in such weather to ask me a question to which the answer is so obvious? After all, the man's
wife is mentally ill. He could have gone to a neighbor for a half-hour and then returned home, telling his wife that
I instructed her to go to the hospital! However, the man was right to do what he did, for the other way is wrong. The Torah
tells us to distance ourselves from falsehood and that is exactly what he did by coming all the way here to see me."
We learn from this story that whatever the circumstances, we must be careful to cling to the truth.