Merriam-Webster is arguably the number one most reliable, trusted, and easy-to-use dictionary and thesaurus online.

Every year (for the past 20 years) Merriam-Webster announces the "Word of the Year," a reward given to the most searched for word over the course of the year.

In a press release on Monday, November 27th, Merrriam-Webster announced that the Word of the Year for 2023 is...


Merriam-Webster defines authentic as “not false or imitation: real, actual” and “true to one’s own personality, spirit or character.”
In their press release, Peter Sokolowski, the editor at large for Merriam-Webster, said, "We see a in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity. What we realize is that when we question authenticity, we value it even more."

Truth be told, while it is nice that people value authenticity and are clearly searching for its meaning, to the extent that it even won the award for “Word of the Year,” the problem is exactly that. People are searching for its meaning on a dictionary platform! In fact, at the press release, Sokolowski said, “Although clearly a desirable quality, ‘authentic’ is hard to define and subject to debate – two reasons it sends many people to the dictionary.”

Looking at the Merriam-Webster dictionary to tell you what authenticity means, is a cute, nice and a good attempt at best to being able to debate and discuss the idea of authenticity. But, by no means does it provide you with a real, deep sense of what it truthfully means to be authentic.

If you want to really know what it means to be authentic, don’t look up the word “authentic” in the Merriam-Webster. Just look at the Jewish people.

“Authentic” is not something we, as the Jewish people need to look up in the dictionary, because it is something that is a part and parcel of who and what we are. “Authentic” sums up the entire past, present, and history of the Jewish people and our eternal commitment to morality, truth, and spirituality. We connect to authenticity every time we study the Torah, every time we converse with G-d in prayer, and every time we perform good deeds to our fellow brothers and sisters.

It’s by no means a coincidence that the same year in which ChatGPT and artificial intelligence took the world by storm, had more people than ever searching for the meaning of the word “authentic.”

It’s by no means a coincidence that the same year in which fake news reports and antisemitism has grown rampantly, had more people than ever searching for authenticity.

My friends, there is nothing more real and authentic than G-d Almighty and His Torah. Hashem is the epitome of Emes – truth, and the same is true with His Torah. As such, it makes a lot of sense that the closer we move to the End of Days, the closer we come to the world-wide recognition of “Hashem Echad U’Shmo Echad,” and the closer we get to the rebuilding of Bayis Shlishi (a place that is a beacon of truth and authenticity), the more people will be craving authenticity.

Authenticity is something we crave.

We all want it; we all need it.

But please don’t make the mistake and think you’re going to get it by looking it up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

“Authentic” may have won the “Word of the Year” for 2023, but guess what? For the Jewish people, “authentic” is not merely a word of the year, it is the word of our lives, the word of the entire history of our people, the word that defines our deep connection to the Creator of the Universe, and a word that depicts our very holy essence and overall sense of being.