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Insights into Parshat Mattot

Updated on September 11, 2010

Vows & Oaths

This parsha (section) of Torah is from Numbers 30:1 to 32:42

Mattot is the plural of the Hebrew word for tribe, or the staff which symbolizes the ruler ship of that tribe. This section of Torah deals with Vows & Oaths, the Midian nation, and the acquiring of goods from the battlefield. In this article we will focus on Oaths and Vows.

Vows & Oaths

Verse 30:3 says, “If a man takes a vow to HaShem (G-d) or swears an oath to establish a prohibition upon himself, he shall not desecrate his word; according to whatever comes from his mouth shall he do.” The word is a powerful thing. It is said that there is live and death within the power of speech. In the book of Genesis it says that G-d spoke and the world came into existence. The Almighty says let there be and then there was. In Judaism there is a belief that the world exists through the constant speech of the Almighty, and when He ceases to speak the world would cease to exist. We are taught from a very young age that if we do not have anything good to say then we should not say anything at all.

It is no wonder, that the Almighty wants us to be people of honor, to stand firm to our words and do not take oaths unless we fully intend to live by those words. Trust and integrity are vital. One of the reasons for the breakdown of societies probably can be trace to the cause of individual’s not standing firm in their vows and oaths. Divorce rates are high in the United States and across the world. Soldiers and sailors go AWOL (absence without leave), since they cannot stand firm in their vows or oaths.

The lack of trust in business erodes business, and a lot of people stop believing in the Stock Market, the banks, and business men. It appears that salesmen are hustlers for the next buck. There has to be scales and measures that are accurate.

If people would stand up to their words, and take serious oaths and vows than there would be no lairs in the courtroom, no frivolous lawsuits and true justice would be served. Honor and integrity is what the Almighty desires of mankind. In goes back to a simple concept that we honor our mother and father. To tell a lie to someone, to not take serious our oaths and vows is bring dishonor upon our parents.

There is another concept which is to Love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, might and soul. To not take serious our vows and oaths is to bring dishonor upon our heavenly father the creator of all things. A concept similar to this is that we love our neighbor as our selves, in other words the Golden Rule, and I do not mean that he who has the gold makes the rules. I mean the true gold, or value lies in the fact that we treat people how we would want to be treated. How would I feel if someone made another to me and did not fulfill. It would hurt, and that is just the bottom line.


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