In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!
Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.
Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!
“Thus said Hashem: I have returned to Zion, and I will dwell in Jerusalem, and Jerusalem will be called the city of truth, and the mount of Hashem of Hosts the Holy Mount.” (Zachariah 8:3)
כה אמר יהוה שבתי אל ציון ושכנתי בתוך ירושל͏ם ונקראה ירושל͏ם עיר האמת והר יהוה צבאות הר הקדש.
“God is near to all who call Him, to all who call Him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18)
קרוב יהוה לכל קראיו לכל אשר יקראהו באמת.
Emet, Hebrew for “truth,” is made up of three letters: alef, mem, and tuf. These letters are, in order, the first, middle and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The sages teach that this shows us how truth is meant to encompass our entire lives, from the beginning, through the middle and until the very end.
God wants us to be open and truthful in our service to Him. As King David wrote in Psalms, “God is near…to all who call Him in truth” (145:18). God does not only desire our gratitude or our praise, but also wants us to share all that we are going through, from the depths of our hearts. God wants us to speak with Him as if we’re speaking with a best friend. He wants us to share the truth of our entire beings and to know that it will be heard and received with nothing but love and compassion.
The prophet Zachariah calls Jerusalem “the city of truth,” because in Jerusalem we feel and experience the presence of God in such a powerful and tangible way that we are inspired to live a life guided by the truth of God’s word and God’s will.
In Psalm 15, King David asks, “Who may sojourn in Your tent, who may dwell on Your holy mountain?” He answers, “He who lives without blame, who does what is right, and in his heart acknowledges the truth.” Truth originates in the heart. From there it must spread outward to our speech and actions so that we align our complete selves with the truth of God’s word.