web analytics
August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


You Aren’t What You Make (Arachin 23b)


Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

There are two different types of vows, nedarim, mentioned in the Torah. The first, which is the subject of Tractate Nedarim, is the prohibitive vow, nidrei issur, pursuant to which a person utters a vow not to do an action, which but for the vow would have been permitted. The second, which is the subject of Tractate Arachin, is known as a nedrei hekdesh, that is a vow to dedicate something of value for the upkeep of the Temple.

While the first type of neder is applicable today the second is not because we no longer have a Temple to maintain.

Nevertheless, the Rambam includes studying the laws of nidrei hekdesh in his list of mitzvot.

The laws of nidrei nekdesh permit one to vow to pay a certain amount of money for the upkeep of the Temple. The amount to be paid depends upon the payment index the person has chosen when making his or her vow. The Torah permits one to choose between four different indices. One can make a personal vow, by pledging the worth of a person, either of oneself or another person, one can pledge the worth of an animal or one can pledge the worth of a parcel of land.

For the purpose of determining how much the Temple treasurer will collect from a person who vowed that he or she will pay his own, or her own, or somebody else’s worth to the Temple, the Torah ascribes the following fixed amounts: (i) 5 Shekalim for a male between the ages of 1 month and one day and 5 years, and 3 Shekalim for a female in this category; (ii) 20 Shekalim for a male between the ages of 5 years and one day and 20 years and 10 Shekalim for a female in this category; (iii) 50 Shekalim for a male between the ages of 20 years and one day and 60 years, and 30 Shekalim for a female in this category; and (iv) 15 Shekalim for a male over 60 and 10 Shekalim for a female in this category.

It should be noted that in fixing a person with an “erech,” loosely translated “worth” or “value,” the Torah is not discussing the worth of a person for any purpose other than determining how much such a vow obliges a person to pay to the Temple and how much money the Temple’s collection agency may collect.

Although the Torah has a fixed scale for the payment of vows, arachin, it takes into account the financial circumstances of a person who may have vowed to the Temple his or her own erech or the erech of somebody else.

A person who cannot afford to pay according the fixed scale he or she has chosen may fulfill his or her vow by paying not less than 1 Sela (a silver coin having the weight of 384 barleycorns), the exact amount being determined in accordance with his or her means as assessed by the kohen. The Sela is the minimum payment with which a person can discharge his or her erech vow. If the person is too poor, in the kohen’s assessment, to pay 1 Selah, the whole payment is deferred until he or she can afford to pay the full amount in accordance with the fixed scale.

Once an erech vow is made, the maturity date by which the vow must be paid is the date which is the first Yom Tov on which the person would be oleh regel – would visit Jerusalem as a pilgrim. If the vow is not fully paid up by then, the person is considered in default and violates the positive law, the mitzvat aseh, of paying one’s vows in Jerusalem.

If a full annual cycle of three festivals has come and gone and the vow has still not been paid, the person is considered in violation of the negative law, mitzvat lo ta’aseh, of bal te’acher, delaying payment.

After the passage of three Festivals, the Temple treasurer has the power to enter the homes of those whose erech payments remain outstanding and seize personal property and foreclose on real estate to cover the amount of the outstanding payment. The treasurer must, however, set aside minimum subsistence requirements for a poor debtor, including food for thirty days, clothing for one year, basic furniture and bedding, tallit and tefillin and basic tools of trade. The rest of the debtor’s assets are put up for sale to pay the vow.

As we have seen, “erech”means the value of a person attributed by the Torah as opposed to the value of a person attributed by society. In valuing a person, society takes many factors into account including physical, intellectual, social and financial. The way society tends to see it, one is worth as much as one makes. The way the Torah views it, social distinctions are artificial and ephemeral and the only immutable differences are age and sex.

Raphael Grunfeld’s book “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Judaica bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.

Comments to the writer are welcome at rafegrunfeld@gmail.com.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “You Aren’t What You Make (Arachin 23b)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rocket that hit a field in the Eshkol region on July 3, 2015
Gaza Launches Rocket Attack, Israelis Not Warned
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

On Shabbat during the nine days, one may don freshly laundered clothes, eat meat and drink wine, including Havdalah wine.

The combination of the severity of the punishment and the ease with which the prohibition may be forgotten require that the smallest amount of chametz – chametz bemashehu – be prohibited.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

Conversely, no part of the Land within the boundaries delineated in Numbers 34 may be relinquished for any purpose whatsoever.

Although it is true that the Final Redemption will be accelerated when all Jews repent and accept the rule of Torah, there is also another scenario for the Final Redemption.

Should just a few communities settle the Land of Israel? Should there be a mass emigration of all Jews worldwide to Israel?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/you-arent-what-you-make-arachin-23b/2012/01/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: