The Appeal of Lies

September 30, 2022
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Aquinas, who equated truth with joy,
may not have realized the quite treacherously troubling fact
that lies appeal to nearly all the hoi polloi,

since passion for the truth is something we have always lacked.

We’re joyful when our leaders who have lied to us are hacked,

but sober when we are ourselves for our untruthfulness attacked.

A verse in Hallel tells us every man’s a liar.
And for this reason is on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah not recited,
because, to God appealing in our strait that’s dire,

its words recall the lies for which we fast, and are indicted.

Ps. 116:10-11 states:

י הֶאֱמַנְתִּי, כִּי אֲדַבֵּר; אֲנִי, עָנִיתִי מְאֹד. 10 He’emanti, I trusted, even when I spoke: ‘I am greatly afflicted.’
יא אֲנִי, אָמַרְתִּי בְחָפְזִי: כָּל-הָאָדָם כֹּזֵב. 11 I said in my haste: ‘All men are liars.’

Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur is a festival on which all Jews are supposed to speak the truth! Ps. 116:10-11: הֶאֱמַנְתִּי . I trusted, may have inspired, וכל מאמינים, and all trust, the poetic prayer that is recited on both these festivals, and עָנִיתִי, I was greatly afflicted may be regarded as an allusion to Yom Kippur, regarding which Lev. 16:31 commands וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם, and you shall afflict your souls.

Carlos Lozada writes in “The Inside Joke That Became Trump’s Big Lie,” NYT, 9/22/22:

Donald Trump’s so-called big lie is not big because of its brazen dishonesty or its widespread influence or its unyielding grip over the Republican Party. It is not even big because of its ambition — to delegitimize a presidency, disenfranchise millions of voters, clap back against reality. No, the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election has grown so powerful because it is yoked to an older deception, without which it could not survive: the idea that American politics is, in essence, a joke, and that it can be treated as such without consequence.

Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored “Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel.” He can be reached at gershonhepner@gmail.com.

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