Thursday, January 13, 2005

Kohelet, Ecclesiastes 11-1

Just a reminder, it helps understand what I've written if you have the books with you as reference.

Kohelet, 5, 1
"Al tivahel al picha" "Don't be rash with your mouth..." control what you say; don't speak before thinking; who's really guilty?
2- too much talk no good; too much searching for problems,too. Looking too close doesn't make things look good; they look better at a distance. There are all sorts of optical games/exercises like this. (I try never to look at my face in one of those magnifying mirrors; middle-aged eyes make everything look nicer.)
3-Do whatever you've promised (to G-d, all quick, loose talk is also a neder-vow); Don't be so fast to promise/vow. Keep lips sealed, or you'll be obligated. Words can be dangerous. Only G-d can/should promise, not us. We end up paying for hasty vows.
Classic examples are Yiftach and Yaakov. Yiftach wanted to G-d to help him be victorious, so he said that if he is the first thing to cross his path will be sacrificed to G-d, and his daughter was the one.
Yaakov had at least two examples. I immediately thought of the classic that when he promised his father-in-law that whoever stole the idols will die. Rachel died young; she had taken them from her father. Nissan was thinking of another the delay, procrastination of Yaakov in building a "Temple" in Beit El. When he fled his family and first got to Beit El (ladder dream) he vowed that if he gets through this ok and can return the first thing he'd do is build a place of worship to G-d in Beit El. Well, he didn't. He went to Shechem and stayed there for a couple of years. and his daughter (the only daughter mentioned when the tribes born) Dina was raped. Remember that Dina means "judgement" and she paid the price for her father's delaying keeping a neder.
There's a saying that the "evil" make vows and the ksharim (kosher good proper) don't. It's ok only if it's really possible to keep and better without neder.
2-dreams-most dreams are shtuyot rediculous. according to Rashi. Don't take them seriously. If they seem bad, "spin" them so they're really ok. It's up to us to make the dreams good.
3- Shlomo had no patience for idiots, who don't want to change/improve themselves, learn from their mistakes. k'sif is someone who doesn't want to learn, would rather stay ignorant. If you make a neder, don't delay in paying it off, no man~ana--or it makes a person a k'sif.
4-better not to promise, than to promise and not pay, or make a vow and pay, or don't promise yes pay. The last is the best, just do, without pledging, promising, etc. According to Nissan the custom of public pledging as a fundraising technique is forbidden.
5- don't make excuses
here Nissan told the story about Yaakov and the rape of Dina, his punishment to procrastinating.
Don't vow/swear.
Our job is to teach our body to "behave."
We must always strive to more, but to work systematicly, not to skip stages, or it'll be too hard, frustrating and the results will be negative. According to the proper order, realistic. The mitzvot/commandments of neder lists requirements.
There's power in a neder. See bamidbar Numbers 30, 2-3. shows the power from one's mouth, what one says. creates something. if you say a neder it's like making a new mitzvah for yourself. Shlomos says not to waste the power.
bereishit Genesis 2, 7 nefesh chaya, the power of speech. A neder must be in the realm of possiblilty, to bring you just a step higher.

6-The most important thing is to fear G-d, regardless of all other things. judge ourselves before we criticize others.

That's it for the week. I must try to watch my words, whether spoken or written. Hard assignment.

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