Yesterday I shared one of the most beautiful and connected moments I’ve ever had with one of my children. It was very simple but very special: we drove to school singing along to our favourite music, holding hands the whole way. We have never felt so close to one another.

Interestingly, just 2 nights before we had one of the most difficult moments in our relationship, where I had to take away their bedtime: 10 minutes alone time with Aba including a bed-time story and a chat, which is so important.

The drastic and dramatic consequence was a response to the child lying to me when I asked if they brushed their teeth.

Many people and parenting-gurus will tell me:

  • I was wrong – children need to feel you trust them;
  • and that the consequence is too harsh – children need feel safe;
  • and that it was not fair – the punishment must fit the mistake.

While I would agree with them in almost all other cases, I felt that this consequence was absolutely needed. But not because of the breakdown in their oral hygiene practice, but rather the breakdown in our relationship.

I didn’t punish them because they didn’t brush their teeth. I punished them because they lied to me. And because they lied about such an insignificant and unimportant thing, it made the deception worse.

Trust and truth are fundamental to any and all relationships. WIthout them, there’s literally nothing to stand on or work with.

In this week’s sedra, in the laws of property sales, we’re told that neither the seller or the buyer is allowed to cheat, wrong or lie to one another.

Then the instruction not to lie is repeated again, this time to include not just business dealings but any and all relationships.

What’s really interesting is that the verse ends with an explanation why we shouldn’t lie saying: fear your God; for I am Hashem your God.

Now Judaism doesn’t believe in a vengeful evil hurtful G-d who wants to punish everyone – so what’s the idea here of fearing G-d?

Looking at the basic mitzvah not to lie, we find something really strange it says:

Midvar sheker tirchak –  literally “distance yourself from a word of falsehood”

There’s no other prohibition in the entire Torah where we are warned to not only refrain from doing the action, but to also distance ourselves from it.

So the Chassidic masters reveal a deeper lesson here, saying we need to read the verse more carefully – Midvar sheker . . . tirchak – see that “from just one word of falsehood, you will distance yourself“

When you lie, you distance yourself from not just the truth, and from the person you’re lying to , but also from yourself and ultimately from G-d.

Because this is fundamental for any and all relationships, I felt that it is a fundamental lesson my child has to learn, or G-d forbid, their relationships in the future will suffer.

And that’s also exactly why, our relationship deepened and we shared such a beautiful and connected moment a few days later.