If a man makes a vow to HaShem or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips. [Numbers 30:3]
This week we have a double portion Matot (Tribes) and Masei (Journeys). I will focus this week on Matot. The first Aliyah has Moses instructing Israel concerning vows.
It is important to remind ourselves that our word is our bond. We must endeavour not to speak too quickly or make promises that we don’t intend to keep.
In the Besorah HaTovah (Good News) we are also reminded of this concept.
“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” [Mattiyahu 5:37].
Yacob also states “Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.” [Yacob / James 5:12]
We have a responsibility as believers to say what we mean and mean what we say.
How often do we tell people “we should get together” or “I will call you”, but we never do or we have no intention of doing these things? We may feel that these are simply social norms or nice things that we say just in conversation or to get people off our backs.
I am just as guilty so I speak from experience, but I have started to feel that if I really can’t call or can’t get together then I should not make the promise of that expectation.
If we find ourselves in such a situation, it may be better to start with the phrase “I can’t promise that I will remember to call, but I will try.
Sometimes, I have found that you may have to go back and apologise for not making a deadline. But in these circumstances I try to do it ahead of time. For example if I say I will type a report in a week and I need extra time. I will go to that person and ask for an extension before the week is done and explain why I cannot make the deadline.
In reviewing the Parasha it is interesting to note that vows made by daughters and wives are seen differently if cancelled by the father or husband when he becomes aware of the vow.
“If a woman makes a vow to the Lord or assumes an obligation while still in her father’s household by reason of her youth, 5 and her father learns of her vow or her self-imposed obligation and offers no objection, all her vows shall stand and every self-imposed obligation shall stand. 6 But if her father restrains her on the day he finds out, none of her vows or self-imposed obligations shall stand; and the Lord will forgive her, since her father restrained her.
7 If she should marry while her vow or the commitment to which she bound herself is still in force, 8 and her husband learns of it and offers no objection on the day he finds out, her vows shall stand and her self-imposed obligations shall stand. 9 But if her husband restrains her on the day that he learns of it, he thereby annuls her vow which was in force or the commitment to which she bound herself; and the Lord will forgive her. [Bamidbar 30: 4-10]
I just wanted to clarify her that HaShem is not being sexist here again women by allowing the male to overrule her vow. This is simply a question of HaShem’s order in society.
For example if my daughter were to say that she will go somewhere or promise to do something, she may have made that vow without thinking of the consequences of her actions. When I hear of it I may forbid her to go because it is not safe. Ultimately, as a father and Husband I have to bear the ultimate responsibility of my household.
So what do you think? How do you become a Man or Woman of your word?
Tags: Aliyah, Books, double portion, Elyse Goldstein, endeavour, evil one, expectation, extra time, General, HaShem, intention, jew, Jew Wishes, jewish life, jewish religion, Jewish Studies, jews, journeys, Judaism, lips, moses, nice things, pledge, promises, quot, religion, rsquo, Shabbat Torah Portions, social norms, The Women's Torah Commentary, Torah Commentaries, Torah Commentary, Torah parsha, Torah studies, Torah study, Torah Writing, vow, vows, weekly torah portion, women and the Torah, women's Torah Commentaries, yacob
More Related Articles: