AYIN BEIS | Existence Unplugged
Chapter 40 (part 2): Vows and their Absolution
Explanation of the chapter on vows in this Torah portion based on the difference between chochma and binah.
Based on the above explanation of chochma and binah we can understand the chapter of vows (in this week’s Torah portion): Everything material is under the control of kelipat nogeh — the shining husks in which the light is intermingled with the shell. This dimension (unlike the Shalosh Kelipot Hatmayot, “three totally impure Kelipot”) can be uplifted and refined; its spiritual potential can be redeemed by man’s constructive intent while making use of the physicality in which it is vested.
Vows of abstinence are a result of someone who feel that he cannot withstand the challenges of material life and needs extra precaution. Vows are related to the level of binah, the beginning of the structure of existence, where abstinence may be necessary. Absolving vows comes from chochma, which come from a level higher than the structure, and thus can transform the material, instead of abstaining from it (like the pleasure from food and drink on Shabbat).
This is the meaning in the opening of the Torah chapter on vows: “Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes and told them this is the thing” refers to chochma (Moses), which is higher than the structure, and therefore has the power to absolve vows and infuse binah with transformative power.
Vows and their absolution.