Rabbi Yishai LisnerAccursed…” and the people answer “Amen”.

The Levites conclude with “Accursed is one who will not uphold the words of this Torah, to perform them.And the entire people shall say ‘Amen’.” (Devarim 27:26)

Rashi maintains this last piece “included the whole Torah in its entirety. Here Am Yisrael accepted upon themselves, by oath, to keep the entire Torah”.

Tosfot (Shvuot 29.) asks “what was the point of this oath? If there was a fear that they would resort to idol-worship then there should be a fear they would transgress an oath as well”. That is, if G-d already feared Bnei Yisrael would transgress the Torah, what good would an oath do? A man suspected of aveiros cannot be trusted to keep his oath either.

King David said “I have sworn and I will perform it, to observe your righteous ordinances” (Tehillim 119:106). King David takes a vow of obedience to adhere to the mitzvoth. And the question is asked, why does he need to take an oath to G-d that he will follow His commandments- had he not taken this oath would he not be obligated to follow the Torah?

King David teaches us the relationship between the oath and keeping the commandments. “I have sworn and I will perform it” – It is not that our oath forces us to keep the mitzvoth, rather the fact we have taken the oath inspires us to perform the mitzvoth.

A person may swear in Beth Din to proclaim his innocence or to affirm his ownership or over an item. But there are times when a person enters an oath or otherwise binds himself to a friend out of a simple desire to strengthen the bond between them. Entering such a relationship can result in motivating a person even more. “I have sworn and I will perform it, to observe your righteous ordinances”.

AM Yisrael answers “amen” and binds itself under oath, not out of fear they would otherwise transgress the Torah rather Bnei Yisrael are saying we want to strengthen our relationship with G-d and motivate ourselves even more to abide his commandments.

This parasha is read as we approach the high holy days. It has the ability to rekindle that oath and our sense of obligation to our creator. To awaken within us our deep desire to bond ourselves, through that oath, to get ever closer to Hashem.