Thursday, Dec 9, 2021

Taanis 12: Well-Deserved Censure

On this daf, we find that rain during Nissan is a curse.

Interestingly, a person who does not keep his word is cursed in the following manner: “He who exacted payment from the generation of the flood, the generation of the tower of Bavel, and the people of Sedom and Amorah, and who drowned the Egyptians, will also obtain payment from one who does not keep his word.” But since one is not halachically obligated to keep his word alone, why is one who failed to do so punished so severely?

When this question was presented to the Chiddushei Harim, he replied in a sharp manner: “Because doing something that is not mentchlich is also a big sin—much bigger than people think. One who doesn’t keep his word or who is part of a plan to steal all of the victim’s money in intervals of less than a perutah has acted in a manner that is not befitting a human being. This is why Chazal spoke so harshly.”

The Chida answered differently: “The sin of one who does not keep his word is comparable to idolatry, the primary sin of the generation of the Mabul and the Dor Haflagah. Is it any wonder that he is dealt with in such a severe manner?” (Siach Sarfei Kodesh; Ma’aris Ha’ayin).

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