D’var Torah: Emet – Learning What Judaism Teaches About Honesty
In the Ashrei prayer, there is a verse that reads, “The Lord is near to all who call, to all who call on God in truth.” What does that mean? Does it mean that God will answer only if we truly believe in God? Or that God will respond only if we are honest in what we are asking for? Or does it mean something else?
Truth, or emet in Hebrew, is a common topic in our lives today. This summer at camp we would like to examine truth and what Judaism says about honesty. Although it might be easy to make this topic political, it is not our intention to do so. Rather, we believe that our camp community would benefit from understanding our sages’ wisdom on this topic. We hope that this learning will inform our relationships with each other.
So it is with great excitement and anticipation that we announce that “Emet” will be our summer theme.
I will leave you with one of the most important stories about truth that I often teach, which I learned from my mom. My mom would say that we should be the best versions of ourselves and not worry about others. She believes that we need to live up to our own promise or potential. This is a type of truth or honesty. A famous rabbi, Rabbi Zusha, said that he wasn’t worried that God would ask him on Judgment Day why he wasn’t more like Moshe. He was worried that God would ask him why he was not more like Zusha. We need to strive to live up to our potential. I believe that Camp Ramah is an extraordinary place to nurture campers and staff alike to allow them to take risks to strive to fulfill each and every person’s promise. This summer we will delve into fulfilling our promise and many other themes around the topic of emet. Shabbat Shalom.