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    The Torah tells that when Yaakov and Esav reunited, after not having seen one another for many years, they embraced, and Esav kissed Yaakov. Rashi points out that in the Torah scroll, there is a mark over the word וישקהו

    (“he kissed him”), indicating that this kiss was not genuine. The reason, Rashi explains, is that Esav did not actually intend to kiss Yaakov. He wanted to bite Yaakov’s neck – but Yaakov’s neck miraculously became solid like marble, and Esav couldn’t bite him.

    What does this mean?

    It means that Esav was fake. He was a fraud. He put on a show. He projected an image that was very different from whom he really was.

    Esav exhibited this characteristic in other ways, as well. When he sold his birthright to Yaakov in exchange for food, the Torah writes, ויבז†עשו†את†≠†הבכורה†– “Esav belittled

    the birthright.” He didn’t think it was important. He didn’t care about it at all. He was happy to sell it. But when Yaakov was sent by his mother to receive the blessing that†Yitzhak†wanted†to†give†to†the†firstborn¨†Esav was very upset, and he cried out in anguish.

    Additionally, the Rabbis teach that Esav showed great respect to his father. But after Yaakov took his blessing, Esav said to himself, “I can’t wait for my father to die, so I can take revenge and kill Yaakov!” It wasn’t real.

    Yaakov was just the opposite. Before his meeting with Esav, he sent a message to him,

    saying, עם†לבן†גרתי†– “I have been liv

    ing with Lavan.” Rashi, in one of the most famous passages in his Torah commentary, explains this to mean, – ותרי”ג†מצוות†שמרתי

    “I observed the 613 commandments.” Yaakov was saying that throughout all the difficult†years†dealing†with†Lavan¨†he†never†changed. He never deviated. He always lived true to his principles. He was consistent and honest. He didn’t live one way in front of some people and a different way around other people.

    This is why Yaakov is associated with the quality of אמת†– honesty and integrity. This

    seems ironic, considering that in his dealings with wicked people like Esav and Lavan, he needed to employ a number of clever tactics. But he is nevertheless the embodiment of אמת†because he was never

    fake. He was never a fraud. He always showed who he really was.

    There are many children who grow up confused because of their parents’ dishonesty. The parents angrily scold the child if he uses foul language, but once they leave the home, they regularly use vulgar words. They tell their children about obeying Rabbis’ instructions, but they themselves ignore much of what Rabbis teach. They tell their children one thing, but they themselves do something else.

    Many parents project a certain image of themselves to their children, but that image is not who they really are. The children are smart enough, or eventually become†smart†enough¨†to†figure†out†the charade, and they don’t know what to believe and what not to believe.

    We need to be honest with our children. If we tell them that a tooth fairy puts money under the pillow, they’ll eventually realize that this isn’t true and won’t trust us. If we make promises to them that we can’t keep, they aren’t going to trust us. And if we pretend when we’re around them to be somebody who we aren’t¨†they†are†going†to†figure†it†out¨†and†then they won’t take us seriously anymore.

    Instead of pretending to be perfect, we should be open and honest with our children about our faults and our struggles. They’ll respect us much more if we acknowledge to them our mistakes, and acknowledge that we should be better and that we’re trying. When we are open and honest in this way, they will trust us far more than if we try to trick them.

    We are the descendants and heirs of Yaakov

    Avinu, the pillar of אמת†. Let us follow

    his example of integrity and consistency, especially around our children