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The Crown of Halacha

Matos 5777 – A Valueless Vow

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Bamidbar 5777

A Valueless Vow

“But if a woman will make a vow to Hashem…”(30:4)

This Vow was made Without Permission

This week’s parasha begins by teaching us the laws of vows. We learn that a husband can annul the vow of his wife and that a father can annul the vow of his daughter. Under normal circumstances, a vow is annulled by finding a flaw in the vow itself. For example, the person who made the vow did not realize at the time how difficult this would make life for others. When he later realizes how uncomfortable this vow makes others feel then it can be said, “Had he known this at the time of making the vow then he would never have made it.” So by finding a flaw in the vow, we can annul it. However, a husband and a father can annul a vow without finding a flaw. In fact, this can be done without the permission of the wife or daughter!

Did the Rabbis Give You Permission to Make this Vow?

Yet, in the case of a son, a father cannot annul the vow. The son has to go to either a TalmidChachum or a Beis Din who will help him find a flaw in his vow. The Kli Yakar points out that if a flaw cannot be found there is another option. Since every vow is made on condition that it is accepted by the Rabbis it follows that the Rabbis will have the same power as a father or husband to annul it. It is sufficient for them to state, “We do not accept this vow.” This nullifies the vow because the person is in their “reshus” (domain) in the same way a daughter is in the reshus of her father or a wife to her husband.

The Rabbis are a Life Source

At the end of the Parasha, we see a further demonstration of the relationship between a person and his Rav. If a person is sent to a City of Refuge (because he accidentally killed someone) his Rabbi must go with him upon request. The reason is that without his Rabbi the person is considered dead. It is being in the reshus of the Rabbi that gives him life.

Protection by Connection

We can illustrate this point with a story that took place a number of years ago. A man who was told by the doctors that he was suffering from terminal lung cancer went to Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l for help.Rav Moshe carefully studied all the hospital records. He told the man to go to the RibnitzerRebbe. After studying all the records, the RibnitzerRebbe told the man that if he wants to live he must move to Yerushalayim immediately. The man returned to Rav Moshe and asked how this could possibly make a difference. Rav Moshe explained, “Your lung condition is a machlokes brought in Chullin. Psakhalacha is that the animal is treif, meaning you will soon die. However, the Bartenura holds that the condition is not fatal and that the animal is kosher. So according to him, you will live. But since he was the Rav of Yerushalayim you must move to his city in order be in his reshus, then his psak will protect you!”

The Merit of Living in the Domain of Torah

The same principle applies when we learn Torah; if we are involved in a machlokes Abaya and Rava – then we are in their reshus. When we learn halacha, we are in the reshus of the Mechaber, Rama, Shach, and Taz. Such protection and blessing are not limited to only those hours of learning. It goes much beyond that. By accepting the rulings of our Rabbis we place ourselves in their reshus and merit to have continual protection all the days of our lives.

 

 

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