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 MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Read the Directions
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

What to Make of My Summer Break?!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

In Our Best Interest
Rabbi Elly Broch - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Delivery From G-d Through Your Mouth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

What Are We Mourning on the Ninth of Av
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765

In Touch with Reality
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

> Learn from Your Past!
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

A Fresh Look at Life
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Connectivity
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

ArtScroll

The Daughters of Tzlofchad
Shlomo Katz - 5758

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Oath of Office
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Taking Action
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Confusing Causation
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768



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