No Ordinary Matter

July 17, 2017 at 6:38 AM , , ,

“…If a man makes a vow… he shall not profane his word…” – Bamidbar 30:3

אִישׁ כִּי יִדֹּר נֶדֶר . . לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ – במדבר ל, ג

The Torah expresses the prohibition of violating your vows with the words, לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ. Rashi explains that the Hebrew word יַחֵל is akin to the word יְחַלֵּל, and should be understood as saying, “he shall not profane his word.” Meaning, in Rashi’s words, “one shall not treat his words as being mundane.” Implied is that the law of vows is more than just an obligation to stand by your verbal commitments; it is a recognition of the inherent sanctity in your words and hence a duty to honor it.

No Ordinary Matter

The Hebrew word דבריו, “his words,” used by Rashi in the phrase, “one shall not treat his words as mundane,” can also be translated as, “his matters.” The phrase would thus mean, “one shall not treat his matters as mundane.” This too mirrors the above ideal, for the sanctity the Torah attributes to our vows illustrates the potential found in all our personal “matters” to be infused with holiness and G-dly purpose. The weight that the Torah ascribes to our ordinary words reminds us of the capacity for holiness innate in every aspect of our lives and our personal duty to reveal it.

—Likutei Sichos, vol. 13, p. 108

 

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