Insights into Parshat Matot-Masei of Mr. Yakov Blustein of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
In Parshas Matot, the beginning of the Parsha goes to great length in describing the Halachot of Nedarim- the laws regarding taking vows and how powerful and serious the Torah takes a person’s Neder.
What message can we take away from the Torah’s teaching of the Halachot of Nedarim, especially during the ‘9 days’ mourning period over the Bet HaMikdash (Holy Temple) that we now find ourselves in?
The answer is as follows: From the Torah’s emphasis on Neder, we can see the Torah’s emphasis on The Power of OUR Speech. When a person would take a Neder, he’d be able to take something that was completely Mutar (permissible) to him and he had the ability to make it Asur Deorayta– completely forbidden on a Biblical level- just though the power of his words. This teaches us the power and seriousness of each and every word a person says.
This message is especially appropriate for the ‘9 days’ mourning period that we now find ourselves in. We know that the 2nd Bet HaMikdash was destroyed because of Sinat Chinam- baseless hatred between fellow Jews. Many times Sinat Chinam can lead us to not be as careful as we should be about how we speak, which can cause us to hurt people through our words, through Lashon Hara and Rechilut. Therefore during this time period we should make an extra effort to make sure that our speech is ‘Kodesh Kodashim’– of the highest caliber.
May we each be Zoche to use the power of speech we have so generously been given to raise ourselves and everyone around us and be Zoche to rebuild the 3rd and Final Bet HaMikdash bemhara beyamaynu, so that this Tisha B’Av can be a day of Yom Tov instead.
(From Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, DRS/Lev Shlomo)