Toldot ~ Lying, truth and consequences (story) | Adath Israel

Unlike the stories I usually tell, which might be true might not, this one actually happened. It was told to me by one of my teachers, rabbi Ed Feinstein, who was the actual rabbi in this story.

This happened in the late eighties early nineties. Grandpa got sick. With cancer. But the entire family knew that he was simply terrified of the word cancer. They came to ask the rabbi whether they could tell him he had another disease, something else. after all, the doctors had given a prognosis of only a few months, six at best, but the family feared that knowing that he had cancer would make Grandpa give up and despair.

Sure, said the rabbi. No need to tell the truth.So the family did not tell Gramps, but took him to doctor appointments, he took the medicine and things were going fine. More than fine. He passed the six-month mark of survival. And then a whole year passed. Grandpa was ok, maybe not 100% but ok.

When Grandpa crossed the 15-month mark, the doctor was pretty amazed. But then…

Then a nephew, who was not part of the first conversation because he lived in a different part of the country, came for a visit. And told Grandpa the truth. Grandpa died three weeks later.

~ The question that I’d like us to discuss: How does this lie relate – or not – to the lie that Rivkah (Rebbecah) and Ya’akov (Jacob) concoct in our reading? Let’s explore the motivations of each of them. How similar/dissimilar are they?