On Solid Ground

Yael Eckstein  |  May 7, 2023

Yael and grateful elderly woman embracing.

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;

Whoever does these things
    will never be shaken.
— Psalm 15:2,5

We start out every week with an inspirational lesson from the beloved Psalms. For centuries, these ancient poems of King David and others have been the foundation for Jewish and Christian worship. Enjoy!

There’s an old Yiddish expression which translated into English means, “A liar needs to have a good memory.” Think about that. When people lie, they need to remember everything they said, which is far more difficult than simply speaking the truth. When people are dishonest, one way or another, they inevitably are found out and pay the price, either in this world or the next.

The Jewish sages also have a saying, “Falsehood doesn’t have a leg to stand on.” What they are referring to is not only what may happen in a court of law, but also to the actual words for “truth” and “falsehood” in Hebrew.

The word for “truth” is emet. It is made up of the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph, the last letter, tav, and the letter mem, which is right in the middle. What’s more, the shapes of these three letters appear to have either two legs or a flat base.

The Hebrew word for “truth” figuratively has the legs to stand on. On the other hand, the word for “falsehood,” sheker, is made up of three letters that all have single legs and are clustered at the end of the alphabet.

On Solid Ground

The sages use the visual form of the letters of these two words to teach this important lesson. If we stick to the truth, we are balanced. We are true to the past, the beginning of the alphabet; the present, symbolized by the middle; and the future, indicated by the last letter of the alphabet.

In other words, when our words honestly convey the past, we will also be on solid ground in the future. But those who speak falsely are unconnected to the past or the present. The facts just don’t back them up. The result is that they have a shaky future waiting for them when the truth finally comes out—which it will!

We see this lesson expressed in the final verse of Psalm 15. After describing the traits of a righteous and godly person—including truthful speech, shunning deception, and always doing what is just and right—David concludes, “Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”

Because the honest and righteous person is always on solid ground.

Your Turn:

Commit to standing on solid ground and always being truthful with others.

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