This Shabbos we read Parshas Matos. In the Parsha we read the instructions that Moses was given regarding making vows. When someone makes a vow he or she is bound to keep their word. The Torah tells us that when Moses taught these instructions of Hashem to the elders of the Jewish people, he used the expression “Ze Hadavar - these are the words.” (Numbers 30:2) What is meant by the expression Ze Hadavar? Was not all the Torah the word of Hashem?
Rav Moshe Sternbach suggests a beautiful idea. The lesson that the laws of vows teach us is the power of speech; How a person can take something that is fully permitted in Torah law, and by uttering a few words he can make it prohibited in Torah law foe himself to have any pleasure from it. The power of speech is now much more readily appreciated. Hopefully our sense of responsibility to think before we say anything, to reflect and ponder on the impact of our words before we say them, is reinforced. How much more peace would there be in this world, between families, spouses, friends and neighbors, if we would only be able to think on the effects our words will have before we say them!!! How much good could we bring to our family, friends, neighbors, and our own home if we would just find the right word of praise, the right thank you, the right tone of conversation, and think about it before we speak!!! How much serenity and calmness can we bring with a cheerful “Hello”, “Good morning”, or “How are you”?
This lesson, This appreciation for the power of our words, Rav Sternbuch explains, is what the Torah stresses when it says Ze Hadavar – that Moses was carful not to switch the words of Hashem even one iota, to give it over exactly as he had heard it. Even the smallest change of a word would have resulted in devastating effects.