Swear by the Name of God

Dvarim [Deuteronomy] 6:13

Swear by the Name of God.

This Hebrew poses an interesting dilemma.


Two related connotations are based on this word. It definitely means oath (שׁבוּעה) but it also means satisfied (שובע). The relationship between these distinct ideas is based on the oldest insight in the world: be careful what you pray for — you might get it.

Someone once assaulted me. The matter went to trial. I gave my testimony. He gave his.

The judge said “Not guilty,” irrespective of the fact that this drunk man tried hard to beat me up in the presence of my wife and child.

This wasn’t fair and I said so in meditation. The G!d of my understanding replied by asking a Question:

What do you say every night before you go to bed?

My answer?

“I forgive anyone who has hurt me, no matter who, what, where, when, why, or how. But I didn’t mean it in this case.”

G!d’s Answer?

Next time tell Me

Reb Arie

A chaplain, spiritual director, and educator, Arié Chark (“Reb Arie”) is Rector at The Metivta of Ottawa. A strong sense of personal mission has led Reb Arie to convene various civil society projects under the auspices of The Metivta of Ottawa, including the Ottawa Roundtable and the Abrahamic Chaplaincy Board.