In parashat Re’eh, we are reminded of the mitzvah of making burnt offerings and other sacrifices, tithes and contributions, and the firstlings of herds and flocks during the pilgrimage festivals. Sefer HaChinnuch, teaches that whoever has vowed or volunteered an offering should do so at the pilgrimage festival that occurs first after the vow is made. In other words, if someone made a vow in Kislev/November, one should fulfill it by Nissan/April when Pesach comes around, but not wait for Shavuot or Sukkot almost a year later.
The commentary goes on to explain that it’s not reasonable to expect a person to make the offering right after promising to do so, and that technically speaking, the promise is not considered delayed until all three pilgrimage festivals of the yearly cycle have passed. However, we are told in Deuteronomy 23:22 not to put off fulfilling the vows we have made. And so, in a sort of compromise, our tradition teaches that we should fulfill our promise by the first pilgrimage festival that occurs after our promise is made, since it is assumed that one would be going to the Temple at this point in time anyway. (more…)