The Truth About The Truth

This week is the penultimate week of the Sefirah count—the week of Yesod. While Yesod means
foundation, it is understood as truth or integrity. These meanings are very helpful when looking at the
Sefirot system as a process of change—now we must ‘measure’ our sincerity about changing in the light
of truth.

The well known formulation of attesting for a witness is to take an oath prior to testimony with the
formula: “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Would it not be sufficient to just state any of the three statements? And if “nothing but the truth” is
truth at the highest level of truth telling than why would the witness not just say that without needing
to say more.

Investigating the origin of this phrase and the nuance of its meaning yielded little information. I recall a
talk by my Kabbalah teacher on the meaning of this phrase relating to the Sefirah of Yesod but could not
find any details. So I am flying solo on the wings of truth telling.

Can we ever attest that we are telling the truth? We know that what people remember about what they
see is very unreliable. So how can a witness in good conscience say that the evidence they give is the
truth when they know full well it is at best their version of the truth?

If we start from this premise it turns around the sworn testimony to acknowledge that the witness is
doing their best to tell the truth about what they experienced. Nothing but the truth then may mean. “I
am not adding anything to make my ‘story’ more plausible” and the whole truth may mean “I am not
leaving something out to make my ‘story’ more plausible.” I am (trying) to tell the truth.

When it comes to telling ourselves the truth (about any aspect of our life, including our commitment to
change) we must acknowledge the truth about the truth of our own version of the story. Are we telling
the whole truth and nothing but the truth? What manifests in our life depends on it.

David Sanders

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