Chof Beis Elul 5773
In the previous issue we discussed a man who was captured and imprisoned, and given only non-Kosher food to eat. As time passed and the man grew weaker and weaker, he was forced to eat the food to prevent his certain death from starvation. The man requested permission to leave the cell for a short period of time, and his request was granted after he swore by the Aseres HaDibros that he would return. As the deadline for his return grew closer, the man approached the rav of the city with a sha'alah: Should he keep his promise and return to his captors, or may he transgress the shevuah and stay in town in order to avoid eating treife food?
The rav answered that it was preferable to return and continue eating treife food than to transgress his shevuah. Not fulfilling the oath would be paramount to transgressing an aveira willingly, for although his keeping Kosher was at stake, his life was not in danger were he to return to his captors. Conversely, upon returning to the cell, he would be forced to consume non-Kosher food; it would not be considered an aveira for it would then be a matter of life and death.
Additionally, the lack of keeping the promise would create a Chillul Hashem, for it would create the image that Jews do not respect what is holy to them. It would therefore be preferable for the man to keep his promise, although it would be at the expense of keeping Kosher, and to daven to Hashem that he be redeemed speedily.
(Based on Sefer Chassidim, Hotzo'as Mikitzei Nirdamim, #1403)