Excerpt Browser

This page displays the full text of excerpts.  When viewing a single excerpt, its “Share,” “Switch Article,” and “Comment” functions are accessible.

NUMBERS — 30:3 all

NUM350 "That which is gone out of thy lips, Thou shalt observe and do…"; "… he shall do according to all that proceeded out of his mouth." (Deuteronomy 23:24; this verse]. Although both of these passages are parts of commandments that seem to be talking about formal vows made to God, Maimonides sees in these imperatives a general obligation to keep one's promises to one's fellow man, honor one's word and carrying out one's pledge even if expressed in an informal way (Sefer ha-Mitzvot le-Rambam, positive command 94; see comments of Ramban. See also Sefer ha-Chinnukh, mitzvot 407 and 575).


NUMBERS — 30:3 break

NUM353 The sixth category [of liars] consists of those who assure their fellow man of some benefit, so assuring him until he is implicitly trusted. This trust should not be violated, and if one is false in this, he incurs greater punishment than the aforementioned falsifier who only spoke in general terms, being like the breaker of a covenant. And if one told his neighbor that he would give him a small gift, even though he used no terms of assurance, about this our Rabbis have stated (Bava Metzia 49a): "Retracting one's words constitutes a breach of faith," for his neighbor relies upon him and trusts him, since the gift in question is only a small one. And if the one who is thus told is a poor man, although the gift pledged is a large one, going back up on the pledge constitutes a great evil, for a vow has been made and he transgresses [this verse]: "He shall not break his word." Similarly, one who preens himself in public on the gift he will give to another, since he has accorded himself praise for his magnanimity, it is not right that he go back on his word once he has appropriated honor and praise through it.


NUMBERS — 30:3 pledge

NUM355 The sixth category [of liars] -- one who promises to help another, and [subsequently] gives the lie to his words by reneging on them. After he said he would help his fellow man with a promise, and after the other has placed his trust in him, he must not violate his promise--this is the path followed by those who lie, and is comparable to a man who violated his covenant, as the pasuk says (Tzefanyah 3:13), "The remnant of Yisrael shall do no injustice, nor speak falsehood, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth." [This verse is brought as proof in Pesachim (91a) that the Jewish people keep their promises.] The same applies to one who told another that he would give him a small gift, even if he did not mention a promise. Our Sages said (Bava Metzia 49a) that reneging on this is a breach of trust, for the other relies on him and trusts him to surely give him a gift, since it is [only] a small one. Moreover, if the intended recipient is poor, even if it is a large gift [i.e., and as such the recipient does not really expect to receive it.], recanting on such a commitment is a very severe offense, for he has taken [the equivalent of] an oath, and the pasuk says [this verse], "He must not violate his word." ["Any utterance of your lips you shall observe and carry out… Whatever you spoke with your mouth" (Devarim 23:24). The Talmud derives from this that when one offers a gift to a poor man (even without a promise), it is considered as if he has made a charitable vow (Rosh Hashanah 6a.)]


NUMBERS — 30:3 violate

NUM357 (Continued from [[GEN1440]] Genesis 37:2 reports GATES 411) Shlomo, a"h, said (Mishlei 25:23), "A northern wind prevents (techolel) rain, and an angry countenance, a furtive tongue." What this means is that just like a northern wind scatters the clouds and prevents rain [from pouring], so too, an angry countenance prevents lashon hara. For when the teller sees the face of his listener, full of anger, the sound of his pouring words will cease. But if he sees that the listener is listening to him, he will drink iniquity like water and not withhold his mouth from lying. Tomorrow will be the same as today [Yeshayahu 56:12], for he will repeat his foolishness, constantly telling lies, and his tongue will pursue the downpour of his falsehoods. The word techolel is from the same root as chalilah ["Heaven forfend!" -- i.e., it means to prevent.]. Similarly, "He shall not violate (yachel) his word" [this verse] -- he shall not negate; and (Bereishis 4:26), "it was then that to call [in the Name of Hashem] ceased (huchal)" -- then it was prevented.


NUMBERS — 30:3 vows

NUM359 It is a positive commandment to deal with cases of nullifying vows and oaths as Scripture says, When a man vows a vow to Hashem, etc. [this verse]. This means that if one who made the vow regrets it and is sorry for what has happened, he is to come to an expert scholar, or to three ordinary persons if there is no learned expert there; and he says, "I swore, or vowed, about this-and-that, and I have come to regret it. Had I known that I would suffer about the matter to such an extent, or that this would happen to me, I would not have taken the vow, or the oath." Then the scholar or the three ordinary man tell him, "Have you already been sorry for it?" Whereupon he answers, "Yes." At that they may say to him, "It is allowed for you," or "It is forgiven you," or "It is permissible for you.


Back To Top