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I Have Discovered the Truth!

Friday, 29 January, 2021 - 12:46 pm

Our sages tell us that the signature of Hashem is “Emet” – truth. Since truth by definition, is consistent, we can see Hashem’s “signature” stamped on things that are consistent. In reality only Hashem is “truly true.” Created existence, especially of a physical nature, is in constant flux. Science tells us that we start dying at the moment of birth. There is erosion and decomposition of physical matter. Our emotions and ideas can also change. We have ups and downs. The only Being that is consistent and unchanging is Hashem. As the verse states (Malachi 3:6), “I am Hashem, I have not changed.”

Our sages further explain that this “signature of truth” is evident in the letters of the Holy Tongue, with which Hashem communicates to us. They demonstrate this by pointing out, that the first letter of the Alphabet is Alef, the middle letter is Mem, and the final letter is Tav – together those three letters spell Emet.

Now in the past 47 years, I have come across this concept many times. Often when reading this, a niggling thought at the back of my head bothered me. Mem is the 13th letter of the 22 letters of the Aleph Bet. Rudimentary math tells me that 13 is not the middle of 22. However, it never bothered me sufficiently to pursue the issue. (I have, on occasion, been accused of lacking curiosity in some aspects of life.)

This week, my son Sholom showed me a stack of articles that were authored in the 1980s by my father-in-law, Rabbi Avraham Stone, for a women’s magazine entitled Di Yiddishe Heim - The Jewish Home. My father-in-law had the great fortune, that his articles for that magazine were edited by the Rebbe. In one article he references this idea of the three letters of Emet being the first, middle and last letters of the Aleph Bet. The Rebbe placed an arrow to an asterisk at the word “middle” and inserted the following point. Mem is the middle letter, only when we include the five final letters, thereby bringing the total to 27 letters. (There are five Hebrew letters that are written differently when they appear at the end of a word.) When the final letters are inserted into the Aleph Bet, Mem becomes the 14th letter, which is the middle letter of 27. As we say down here in New Orleans – “true-dat.”

So the beautiful thing is that one can learn new things every day. Ain’t that the truth!!

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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