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Yitro: Alshich: Mitzvah 32 – Concept 210

“You shall not take the Name of God, your Lord, in vain, for God will not absolve anyone who takes His Name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)  We may not take God’s Name in vain. (Rambam, Hilchot Shavuot – The Laws of Oaths)

This commandment corresponds to the statement at the creation, “The Lord said, let there be a firmament.”

The Sages of Bereishit Rabbah 4 say that the “upper waters are suspended by force of a Divine directive.” The Talmud (Shavuot 39) explains that when God formulated this commandment the whole universe trembled. This caused tremendous amazement. One could not imagine the far-reaching significance of the commandment not to utter an unnecessary oath. Especially, in view of the fact that God adds that, “He will not totally absolve a person doing this from his guilt, ever.” The reference is to the overwhelming importance of the spoken word.

The very heavens are separated from the earth only by a spoken word of God. If such a word were ever used frivolously the universe would collapse, we would be back at the stage of Utter Confusion. (Rabbi Moshe Alshich)

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