You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people. -- Lev 19:16
A talebearer reveals secrets, "But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter" (Prov 11:13)
Have you ever been in on a conversation that started like this: “Can you keep a secret? I’m really not supposed to talk about this, but . . .” or “So-and-so made me promise not to tell anyone about this, but . . .”? This opening line is usually followed by an explanation of why it’s OK to not keep the secret, but to share the forbidden information with you, often in flattering terms. But don’t yield to flattery; the right response to this opening line is, “Wait, don’t tell me! If it’s supposed to be a secret I don’t want to know it.”
The connection between trustworthiness and honesty would appear to be fairly simple. An individual who has regularly demonstrated honesty is usually trustworthy. However, this is not universally the case as I have seen brutally honest people say nasty things to people they love.
When I was a kid, I joined the Boy Scouts. One of the first things you learn in the Boy Scout Creed, is that a scout is Trustworthy. Like most kids, it was just something we had to memorize to be a scout. As I have gotten older and somewhat wiser, I’ve come to appreciate the values scouting tried to impart to us.
Rabbi Israel Salanter was in a hotel once, and the person in charge, a Jewish fellow, asked the rabbi, not knowing who he was, if he knew how to do shechita, (how to properly slaughter animals). Rabbi Salanter then said, "Why do you ask?" The fellow answered that he had an animal that needed to be slaughtered for dinner, and instead of taking it to the slaughterhouse, he hoped that Rabbi Salanter would be able do it right there. Rabbi Salanter answered that he was sorry, but he was not an expert in shechita.
Later that day, Rabbi Salanter went to the same fellow and asked to borrow 5 rubels. The fellow looked at the rabbi and said, "How can I lend to you 5 rubles, for I don’t know who you are? I never met you, so how can I lend to you 5 rubles? Who says you are going to pay me back?" Rabbi Salanter replied that when it came to asking about shechita, the fellow didn’t know him but trusted the rabbi anyway simply because he had a beard. But now when it came to money, he didn’t trust the rabbi at all. His money was more important to him than his religion.
The Hebrew word for trustworthy is ameen. It comes from the root meaning faithful. When we consider what it means to be trustworthy, it is really a component of faithfulness. And one of the best examples of trustworthiness is Hashem Himself.
"Merciful God, merciful God, powerful God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness and truth. Preserver of kindness for thousands of generations, forgiver of iniquity, willful sin and error, and Who cleanses." — Exodus 34:6-7
Rabbi Shimon taught: There are three crowns: The crown of Torah, the crown of Priesthood, and the crown of Royalty. The crown of a good name surpasses them all." — Avot 4:17
Shammai taught: "Say little and do much." — Avot 1:15 Rabbi Natan said, “What does this mean? It teaches that the righteous say little and do much, whereas the wicked say much and do not even a little.” — Avot 13:3
"Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give." —Proverbs 25:14
Nittai, of Arbel, taught: "Keep far from an evil neighbor, be not a partner with an evil person..." — Avot 1:7
"The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be—and when they’re not, we cry." — Jewish proverb
"Trust, but verify." — Russian proverb
"It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?" — C.S. Lewis
"The wild things of this earth are not ours to do with as we please. They have been given to us in trust, and we must account for them to the generation which will come after us and audit our accounts." — William T. Hornaday
"Trust is the feeling that makes one man believe in another." — Henry Louis Menchen
Shammai taught: "Say little and do much." — Avot 1:15
Rabbi Natan said, “What does this mean? It teaches that the righteous say little and do much, whereas the wicked say much and do not even a little.” — Avot 13:3
One of God’s greatest gifts to humanity is free will. That gift produces the opportunity to be creative, thoughtful, decisive, curious, and more. With free will we are given the privilege to partner with God. Any partnership requires mutual trust for it to be positive. Our human partnership with God is no exception.
Use these questions to evaluate your day: