As my job is to be a Rabbi to the local Jewish Recovery Community, my Friday nights are usually spent among Jewish recovering addicts. Our Shabbat meal is spiced up with stories of recovery and celebrations of anniversaries. Last week we had the joy of celebrating many sobriety anniversaries including 30 Days, 60 Days, 9 Months, 1 Year, and 9 Years!!!

So it got me thinking about all those years of recovery that some people have, and how some people unfortunately relapse even after 25 years of actively working the program. It reminded me of a story in the Talmud where the High Priest carried his spiritual duties for 40 years in a row, and then turned heretic. Now, you can't fake your way through walking into the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the Holiest day of the year... But still there is no guarantee.

Another thought that crossed my mind was the Talmudic description of the "Deceiving Rivers". In Talmudic times a person who wanted to purify themselves has to immerse themselves in a body of water. In order for a river to be considered adequate for immersion it has to have a continuous flow, an all-weather river. The Deceiving Rivers were rivers that would flow regularly for up to seven years in a row, and then take a break for a while. They are called Deceiving Rivers even at the time that they are gushing and flowing with full force, and deemed unKosher for immersion.

So it turns out that Truth is Eternal. If we are connected to a source of Life and Truth, we will last forever. And if we eventually fail, it means that we were not totally truthful. It means that somewhere inside of us we were dishonest with ourselves all along. We may have appeared to be alive and involved to the maximum, but we knew all along that there was a little break in honesty, that we might just have been a Deceiving River...