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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Mattot 42-1


Numbers 30:1-16 (Heb. 2-17)

Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, "This is what the LORD has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Num. 30:1-2 ESV

Why is it important to fulfill a promise?

Here the Torah mentions the heads of the tribes in the context of fulfilling promises. This teaches us that the leaders have a much greater responsibility to fulfill promises than the rest of the people, since he represents HaShem before the people. If a leader does not fulfill his promises, the people will get the wrong impression of the Eternal who has appointed him as His representative. It also means that society must be founded on truthfulness and that this is especially significant among the leaders.

A political leader who makes promises during his election campaign and then, once he is elected, does not fulfill his promises, is dishonoring HaShemıs name. Not fulfilling a promise is more serious than it may seem. It has to do with HaShemıs honor.

This principle applies to parents also. When parents promise their children something it is very important that they fulfill that promise so that the children will come to know HaShemıs faithfulness through their parents example. The impression that parents present to their children will be projected on the Eternal. Children believe that HaShem is like their parents. Therefore it is very important that parents fulfill their promises to their children and that they do not go back on their word. If, at any time, it becomes necessary to go back on a word that was given to oneıs children, one must ask for forgiveness so the children understand that such behavior is not right. Then they will not believe that HaShem breaks his promises.

This text also means that one has a responsibility to fulfill oneıs word before authorities, and that authorities, at certain occasions, have the right to annul promises of the people.

Be very careful to fulfill what you have promised. In that way you will be like HaShem and honor him.

Shavua tov,


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