When giving over the word of Hashem to the Jewish people we usually find that Moshe spoke to the Bnei Yisrael directly. Our Parsha begins with Moshe teaching us about the laws of Nedarim. It is interesting that it does not say וידבר משה אל בני ישראל לאמר rather it says ‘וידבר משה אל ראשי המטות לבני ישראל לאמר  זה הדבר אשר צוה ה. We see that Moshe spoke to the leaders of the Jewish people and not to the Jewish people directly. We also see that the leaders are referred to as ראשי מטות and not simply as ראשי שבטי ישראל. The Seforim explain the terminology of the word מטות or מטה,refers to Hashem being  מטה the world, that He can do with the world as He wants. Similarly, a tzaddik has the koach of the מטה אלהים, to tilt the ways of Hashem in our favor. Moshe was telling the leaders of the Jewish people: You need to be מטות to the Bnei Yisrael, you need to tilt things in their favor.

When one makes a neder, many times it stems from anger or pride or other unhealthy habits. Therefore, Chazal distance us from making nedarim and likens the making of a neder to making a sacrifice to Avoda Zara or to שחוטי חוץ, bringing a korban that was slaughtered outside of the Machane.

Why would the seemingly trivial act of making a neder be likened to such grave sins?

The neder is far from trivial. In fact, making a neder is an act of creating more Kedusha in the world, it is a Godly act. When one makes a neder, one is taking that which was regular, mundane and insignificant and raising it up a notch, thereby separating it from the flow of things. This is the same thing as Kedusha. We find that there are many ways to add Kedusha to the world, one can bring in Shabbos early and add onto the Kedusha of Shabbos; one can make themselves a nazir and make part of themselves holy.We can even add a person to the unit known as Am Yisroel, therefore increasing the Kedusha of Am Yisroel.

 Similarly, one can make a neder to allot certain times for learning and make that time a time of Kedusha. Though, on the flip-side, one can make a neder out of anger or otherwise and promise not to walk down a certain street or eat a certain food. While you are making that street or food different than all other foods, you are making it Kadosh. However, since one is likely to violate it and it did not come from a good place, you are essentially taking something that is holy and using it in a mundane way. This is a ‘חילול ה and is therefore likened to sacrificing to Avoda Zara or שחוטי חוץ.

The Torah, however, tells us that the same way we have the power to make something holy, we can also use that same power to undo the damage done and with a beis din we can annul our vows and go back to square one.

Moshe is telling the leaders of the Jewish people ‘ I am giving you your task as leaders, you need to be  Mattos  to the Bnei Yisrael.’  When the Bnei Yisrael mess up and make Nedarim that are not from a good place, it brings a Midas HaDin upon them. The task of the leader is to remove that Din and bring everlasting Chesed and Rachamim to us.

This is not only true of Nedarim, but anytime we find ourselves in a rough patch in life, we should go to our Rav for advice and to fix things up for us, as he is the one tasked with fixing things up for us and to change the din to rachamim.

We should be zoche to make the right things holy and with the help of our leaders, be mekadesh shem Shamayim

(Based on Thoughts of Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, Rav Adin Steinsaltz and R’ Shlomo Carlebach)

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