What is the definition of the word “truth”?
Is it politically correct to even use that word in the 21st century?
One of the most popular phrases used recently is that of “fake news”. A term used to describe a type of journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation via broadcast news or online social media. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook has pledged to tackle the proliferation of “fake news” on the number one social media platform as his New Year resolution.
The question is what exactly constitutes “fake” news? Or for that matter what is the definition of that which is “real”?
In the opening of this week’s Torah portion there is a fascinating dialogue between G-d and Moses. G-d is responding to a challenge that Moses has made as to why G-d has dealt so harshly with the Jewish people. G-d explains that although in the past I have not revealed my true essence - referring to a name of G-d that is synonymous with the attribute of “truth” - to the forefathers, I will do so now.
The first Lubavitcher Rebbe explains the rationale behind this as follows. He says, because the intensity of the darkness of the exile is so great, this in itself will trigger a light that corresponds in its intensity to dispel the darkness.
This explanation applies equally to “truth” and “falsehood” which as mentioned above is synonymous with the revelation of G-ds true essence or the lack of it.
It is only when the proliferation of that which is “false” or “fake” is so prevalent that it will necessarily force that which is “true” and “real” to emerge.
The mystical definition of that which is “true” is something that does not change. It is an ideal or value that is not subject to any external forces and as a result it is timeless. Conversely “falsehood” is completely subjective and consequently it cannot be sustainable.
I might be jumping ahead of myself, but perhaps what we are witnessing today is the beginning of one of the greatest disruptions in history. A time when all that which is “fake” begins to unravel allowing for all that is real to emerge.