Our forefather Jacob was know as a “Man of Truth.” You may be surprised to learn why!

Living Torah

By Rabbi Ari Enkin, rabbinic director, United with Israel

Each of the three patriarchs of the Jewish people – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – had a primary characteristic for which they were known. Of course, they were all righteous, and they were all great leaders. But each one, like everyone else, was distinct in his own way.

Abraham’s trademark characteristic was chesed – kindness. From his extreme hospitality to all guests at his home, regardless of who they were or their beliefs, to trying to save Sodom from destruction, Abraham devoted his life to acts of kindness and helping others.

Isaac’s trademark characteristic was pahad, loosely translated as fear, especially in the context of “fear of God.” Indeed, Isaac’s entire life emanated fear of God. He was the classic God-fearing Jew! He was the one ready to give up his life on the altar, no questions asked. He had complete trust in the Divine plan and feared no one but God.

Jacob’s trademark characteristic was emet, truth. Wait a second! Jacob’s crowning attribute and characteristic is truth? Huh? Wasn’t Jacob the one who stole the blessings and birthright from his brother Esau and lied to his father about his identity? Wasn’t Jacob the one who shrewdly manipulated his rightful portion of sheep, as well as his salary expectations, with Laban, his father-in-law? Let’s face it, Jacob’s decisions, actions…his entire life does not seem to be one that emanated truth and honesty. Certainly not on the surface. What’s going on here? How is Jacob associated with truth?

It is explained that of all the patriarchs, Jacob had the most turbulent and difficult life. It was one let-down after another. One disappointment after another. Non-stop aggravation. From his children to his in-laws, Jacob’s life was one big stress.

Furthermore, according to a fascinating Midrashic teaching, Jacob was told that if any of his sons died during his lifetime, it was a sign that he would be going to Hell! And for all he knew, his son Joseph had indeed been killed! Can you imagine? I’m sure if most people knew, for whatever reason, that they were definitely going to Hell, they would live life much differently, probably a lot more sinfully.

That was Jacob’s life. He could have thrown everything, including his role as patriarch of the Jewish people, right out the window. He could have turned his life into one big hedonistic adventure. But he didn’t.

That is why Jacob was labeled the “Man of Truth.”

“Truth” means that a person does what he has to do, not because of reward and punishment, but because it is the right thing to do. Jacob knew that the lifestyle he was living was the honest one, the right one, and he continued to live by it, never veering off the straight and narrow path, regardless of the fact that he was not expecting any type of reward.

Emet – Truth – doing the right thing, simply because it’s the right thing to do!

Send Passover Packages to Needy Israeli Soldiers - Bring Them Joy!

We are honored to thank the young men and women of the IDF who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Israel. Since October 7th, soldiers have been on the battlefield for months - many are hoping to come home for Passover.

Join us in sending Passover food packages (and personal notes) to Israeli soldiers and their families.

Many soldiers spend the Passover holiday with needy families back home. The soldiers greatly appreciate your love and concern. Bring them Passover joy!