Vows and Oaths
Thought for the Week:
Integrity is a matter of Torah. Over and over again we encounter legislation regarding honest weights and measures, equity, vows and oaths. Integrity is a matter of internal and external consistency. Disingenuousness and deceit may be measured by the size of discrepancy between a person's words and the actual matter of which they are speaking. When our actions agree with our confessions, we are living out integrity according to the Torah's standards.
Numbers 30:1-2: The Torah says that a person who makes an oath or a vow is bound to fulfill that oath or vow. The commandment is expressed in a negative and positive formulation: "he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth." (Numbers 30:2) Therefore, breaking one's word is a violation of two commandments.
These commands are traditionally interpreted to mean that any utterance should be regarded as binding as if it were an oath, particularly if it is uttered in a vow-like formula. For example, a person might say, "…
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