Colors: Green Color

My wife and I were eating Friday night Shabbat dinner in one of the Israeli hotels, when we noticed a family sitting next to us who were clearly not religious. The kids – and parents – were on their phones, and the father had more tattoos than most NBA players. However, even though everyone else was pushing his/her way to the buffet, this family was just sitting and waiting, until the father put a napkin on his head and said, “Time to make Kiddush.” Two of the boys put a napkin-kipah on, as well, and they all stood at the table. The father then recited a beautiful Kiddush – while reading the text from his iPhone! After Kiddush, the father and the boys went to wash “n’tilas yadayim” while the mother and girls sat and waited. A few moments later, the fellows came back, and the father made a loud HaMotzi brachah (this time by heart – no need for the phone). They all had some bread, took the napkins off their heads and proceeded to the buffet.

We are currently in the middle of “The Seven Weeks of Comfort,” the period after Tish’ah B’Av where we focus on how to rise from the ashes and rebuild our lives. The talk of death, destruction, and tragedy is over, and we have turned our attention to t’shuvah, t’filah, and tz’dakah. However, as we enter the world of Elul, allow me to make one final point about the period we just concluded. If all you did during the last two months was say kinos, and not shave or listen to music, you missed the point!

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.

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.