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Dvarf for Ki Tetzei

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the concise, relevant Weekly Dvar. We're finally back on the Wednesday schedule - sorry about the delays over the past few weeks. As for comments, questions, suggestions and referrals, please make sure you have dvarman@weeklydvar.com as the Email of record, and not the Verizon Email which will be going away soon. As always, enjoy this great Dvar from Mr. Gewirtz...

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There is a Passuk (verse) in Parshat Ki Tetzei that reads "And if you desist from vowing, no sin (fault) will be found with you." This implies (and confirmed in a Gemara in Nedarim) that one that does vow will be found at fault, even if he/she fulfills the vow. Why is this true? What if someone vows to do a good deed? What could possibly be wrong with doing that?

Jonny Gewirtz in his weekly publication Migdal Ohr offers an insightful answer: Since one could have fulfilled the mitzvah without the vow, the vow merely serves as a potential obstacle because if he does not fulfill the act he has committed a sin by transgressing his vow. On a deeper level, though, one who desists from making vows will not be found sinning because they are aware of the power of the tongue. They know that speech, once uttered, cannot be retracted, and thus is careful what he says. This awareness applies not only to vows but lashon harah, hurtful words, falsehood, etc. which encompass so many other sins they will be able to avoid.

At the culmination of Elul on Erev Rosh HaShana, and again at Kol Nidrei on Yom Kippur, we annul any vows we have taken and declare our intention not to vow again. This is the hope of the new year, that it will be one in which we will be cognizant of the power we have in our tongues and in our actions, and act appropriately. This undertaking to be careful with vows is not the ultimate goal, it is just the beginning.

Quotation of the week (thanks to Sharon):
"Many people wish they could change their life, when all they really need to do is change their attitude towards life."

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Last Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2005