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    Promises we can make – B’midbar

    One of the phrases which only Jews will understand is shnoddering. It means making a promise to make a donation to the synagogue.

    It comes in the Mi Sheberach prayer said for a person who is called to the Torah, she-nadar (“who has vowed” to give).

    Since money is not handled on Shabbat the person concerned does not hand over the amount but solemnly undertakes that he will do so. (On my first visit to Israel the synagogue shammas waited in the hotel lobby on Shabbat afternoon to make sure I didn’t disappear after Shabbat without paying my pledge.)

    The Torah reading this week speaks of a man or woman who makes a pledge or promise, and since the Hebrew word is spelled nun-dalet-resh it prompts me to suggest that we should all promise God at least three things to which these three letters point:
    nun is neshamah, the soul,
    dalet is davar, a word, and
    resh is regel, foot.

    The promises a good Jew makes to God should be – may my soul ever turn to You, may my mouth ever acclaim Your word, may my foot ever hasten to do good deeds.

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