Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Matos-Masei

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"When a man shall make a vow or swear an oath, to make a prohibition upon himself, he shall not profane his word; he shall do in accordance with all that leaves his mouth." [30:3]

What is the objective? As Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi) explains, "he should not make his words 'Chulin.'" We translate 'chulin' as profane, but really the word simply means 'ordinary.' The days of the week, compared to Shabbos, are called 'chol.' The Talmudic tractate which discusses the slaughter of kosher animals for food, rather than those slaughtered for various Temple sacrifices, is called 'Chulin.'

Thus what we have is not a denigration of the words - this is hardly what we would refer to in English as 'profanity' - but, to the contrary, a recognition of how high and holy words can be. One who fails to meet the obligations set out in his oath has failed to preserve the lofty level of his speech when first uttered - by comparison, the words now seem profane. The lowliness of an oath unfulfilled is in the comparison.

The Chazon Ish, Rabbi Abraham Y. Karelitz, was one of the leading Rabbis in Israel during and after the founding of the modern State. One Shabbos afternoon in his later years, when he was elderly and not able to go to pray with ease, he realized that nine other men were in the room with him - and he asked them if they could remain and pray Mincha, the Afternoon Service, before they left.

He noticed that one guest looked uncomfortable, and asked him why. The latter, somewhat embarrassed that his discomfort had been noticed, responded that he had agreed to meet someone else within ten minutes - but he could surely be a few minutes late in order to "make the minyan" for one of Israel's great Rabbis!

The Chazon Ish responded, "Heaven forbid! You told someone you would meet him? Go fulfill your word!"

Making a commitment, especially to do a mitzvah, is a great and holy thing. But it cannot be treated lightly: "Lo Yachel Devaro" - "He shall not profane his word!" The holiness of our words is only preserved when we keep our word; when we meet our commitments.

Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Director of Project Genesis.

 

ARTICLES ON KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

The Importance of Being, the Importance of Having...a Rav
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Stiff Neck
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765

What Money Can Not Buy
Rabbi Yehudah Steinberg - 5774

ArtScroll

Moshe Outshines the Dream Team!
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Money is Like Fire
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Appreciating What We Have - While We Have It!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

> Pocketbook Judaism
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Sign of a Jew
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Errant Deification
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

In Defense of Haman
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Terrorist Threat
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Just a Coincidence?
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

How Could This Happen?
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768

Megillah - Don't Look Back
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Complete Dedication
Rabbi Yosey Goldstein - 5756

When Dignity Really Counts
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information