This morning I was reviewing Yehoshua chapter 2 with the GR"A's commentary (among others) and I encountered a great definition of Emet (truth) for our purposes.
Verses 12 and 13 read like this (please forgive the style of the English, the translation is somewhat literal at the expense of ease of reading):
12. And now, swear, please, to me by Hashem, for I did with you Chesed; and you should do, also you, with my father's house Chesed, and give me a sign of Emet.
13. And you should make live my father and my mother, and my brothers and my sisters, and everything they have, and save our souls from death.
14. And the men said to her, our soul is under yours for death, if you will not tell regarding this thing, and it will be that when Hashem gives us the land, we will do with you Chesed and Emet.
The GR"A explains the precision of the words. Rachav did Chesed with them. She requested a sign that they would repay this, which is Emet. She requested in return Chesed for her family, which was not directly involved, and Emet in regards to herself, since they owed it to her.
This is explained further in the verse in Michah (7:20)
You give Emet to Yaakov, Chesed to Avraham, to whom you swore, to our fathers, from the days of old.
The GR"A states:
- Chesed to Avraham - is the promise (regarding the Eretz Yisrael).
- Emet to Yaakov - to follow through on the promise that was given to Avraham.
Proper measures. Good is done to us, we do good in return.
Two somewhat political examples of what not to do:
- The South Lebanon Army: They fought against Hizbullah with the IDF for nearly 20 years, and then the Israeli government has basically abandoned them.
- Gush Katif & the Shomron: Many of the residents who were expelled in 5765 were encouraged by the government to settle those areas. Regardless, the Israeli government has basically deprived them of their livelihoods and done little in the way of rectifying the massive loss and trauma imposed upon these productive, G-d fearing Jews.
This is part of Geulat HaEmet (the Redemption of Truth), doing what is right. Not simply determining what is right and wrong (which I hope to discuss soon), but doing what is right. What is right is Emet.