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

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Crossing Holiness to the Other Side of the River
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Marriage Vows
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Armed with the Past
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

YomTov, vol. XIII # 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

On the Road of Life
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Wandering No More
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

The Joy Of Mussar
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Recognizing the Honor and Kindness of Others
Rabbi Yona Zohn - 5761

> Murphy's Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

A Lesson About Our Psyche
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Holy Words!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

ArtScroll

Father Knows Best
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

Clear Vision
Shlomo Katz - 5761

An Ounce of Prevention
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Your Flattery Will Be The Death of Me
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771



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