20 Tammuz 5783 – 9 July 2023
“Moses spoke to the tribal leaders of the Children of Israel saying: This is the word that Hashem has commanded: If a person makes a vow…”
We need to understand why this chapter which deals with the laws of vows and oaths was specifically addressed to the tribal leaders rather than to the nation as a whole. Rabbi Moshe Sofer (known as the Chasam Sofer) offers a somewhat tongue-in-cheek possibility. It seems to be that from time immemorial, the most common violators of vows have been politicians and community leaders. They tend to promise everything, but rarely deliver. That’s why this passage warns in the continuation of verse three, “He may not profane his word, and must act in accordance with all that he has said.”
By Rabbi Michael Skobac
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