Colors: Green Color

From an early age, we have been taught to tell the truth. In his sefer S’fas Tamim, the Chofetz Chaim writes that falsehood is the only sin in the Torah where we are explicitly required to keep a distance from, as it says; “Keep away from anything false” (Sh’mos 23:7). When you think about it, it’s truly amazing. We know how serious sins are, especially idol worship, murder, kidnapping, and forbidden sexual relationships (among others). Yet the only time the Torah shows us that big yellow sign – “Caution: Stay away” – is when it comes to lying.

I can live to be 1,000 and will never understand how Memorial Day is commemorated in the United States. According to the website Military.com, “Since the Revolutionary War ended, 646,596 American troops have died in battle.” Many other sources give numbers higher than that, but let’s use that one for this article. This past week was Memorial Day, and the country was being asked to honor the memory of those 646,596 heroes. How was that done? Let’s check it out.

Three weeks ago, I saw a video that broke my heart. A chareidi mother and father were standing in their apartment, begging for help in finding their 16-year-old son. The boy’s name is Moishe Kleinerman, and he has now been missing for 100 days. His parents, Shmuel and Gitty, are heartbroken (who wouldn’t be?) and they are trying everything possible to publicize his picture and his story.

Allow me to answer the question right away: We pray for both! Our daily t’filos are filled with requests for peace. In Shacharis alone, we mention the word “shalom” about 20 times. Yet, in those same morning prayers, we recite chapter 149 of T’hilim with the words, “To exact vengeance among the nations.” On certain days throughout the year, we say “Avinu Malkeinu,” which includes the request: “Our Father, our King, avenge before our eyes the spilled blood of Your servants.” On Shabbos, just prior to returning the Torah to the ark, we say; “May He (Hashem) before our eyes, exact retribution for the spilled blood of His servants, as is written in the Torah of Moshe, the man of G-d, ‘Oh nations, sing the praise of His people for He will avenge the blood of His servants and bring retribution upon His foes’… Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their G-d?’ Let there be known among the nations, before our eyes, revenge for Your servants’ spilled blood…”