דוד פרי-חן (2)

David Prichen
Former Shaliach in Chicago (2008-2010)

 

כב) כי תדר נדר לה’ אלוהיך לא תאחר לשלמו כי דרש ידרשנו ה’ אלוהיך מעמך והיה בך חטא
כג) וכי תחדל לנדר לא יהיה בך חטא
כד) מוצא שפתיך תשמר ועשית כאשר נדרת לה’ אלוהיך נדבה אשר דברת בפיך
Reading the above psukim, one gets the feeling that the Torah is not comfortable with the idea of vows, not to mention encouraging it. It seems, that when the torah says that not vowing is not a sin, it actually means, that it is the preferable way. The general feeling gets strengthen when we read the following psukim from Kohelet:
ג) כאשר תדר נדר לאלוהים אל-תאחר לשלמו כי אין חפץ בכסילים את אשר-תדר שלם
ד) טוב אשר לא-תדר משתדור ולא תשלם
In Kohelet it is far more explicit – it is better not to vow, then vowing without fulfilling it. Since not vowing is not a sin, but vowing without fulfilling it is, we should conclude the risk is not worthy. In fact, this seems the Gemara’s conclusion:
דתני רב דימי אחוה דרב ספרא: כל הנודר, אף על פי שהוא מקיימו – נקרא חוטא, אמר רב זביד: מאי קרא? וכי תחדל לנדור לא יהיה בך חטא, הא לא חדלת – איכא חטא. (תלמוד בבלי מסכת נדרים דף עז עמוד ב)
Rav Dimi’s conclusion goes further. Even when the vow is being fulfilled, it is still considered a sin. The rational for such statement could be that you should not have taken the risk of not fulfilling it in the first place. The Shulchan Aruch quotes Rav Dimi’s statement, adding that a person who vows is considered רשע.
Given this introduction, it is quite surprising to stumble upon the following Gmara:
מנין שנשבעין לקיים את המצוה? שנאמר: נשבעתי ואקיימה לשמור משפטי צדקך. והלא מושבע ועומד מהר סיני הוא! אלא הא קמ”ל, דשרי ליה לאיניש לזרוזי נפשיה. (תלמוד בבלי מסכת נדרים דף ח עמוד א)
The Gmara says that one can vow to fulfill a mitzvah. Later on the Gmara even praises such a vow saying that it is a נדר גדול לא-לוהי ישראל. It is unclear from the Gmara whether such a vow can even apply, since we were already vowed to fulfill the mitzvot back in Har Sinai, and this later vow doesn’t add anything to this ancient vow. According to Ramban whose puskin that such a vow does not apply, the Gmara gets very hard to understand – if such a vow in fact does not apply, why does the Gemara praises such a vow? What is the meaning of such an act that doesn’t have any Halachic implications?R Tzadok in צדקת הצדיק explains the deep meaning of making a vow to fulfill a mitzvah, even if it doesn’t apply. When a person does not fulfill a required mitzvah, or even more so, commit a sin, it is because of forgetfulness. Indeed, sometime he does remember it in his mind, but the problem is the forgetfulness of the heart. When we remember in our hearts that Hashem commanded us to do something, it is impossible not to do so. By making a vow, says R Tzadok, we internalize the mitzvah deep into our hearts. It takes the factual knowledge from the mind, and sinks in the heart.
Such a vow is considered as a נדר גדול לא-לוהי ישראל.