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The Barash Vow: What Star Wars' Most Tragic Oath Really Means For Jedi

On Episode 2 of "The Acolyte," Mae (Amandla Stenberg) sets her sights to kill Jedi Master Torbin, played by an unrecognizable Dean-Charles Chapman. However, she's unable to attack him initially due to shielding he has from practicing the Barash Vow for so long. Casual "Star Wars" viewers may just assume this is simple meditation that grants the user immense protection, but hardcore fans may already know the tragic backstory behind this particular Jedi vow. 

The Barash Vow is a somewhat new addition to "Star Wars" lore, first being referenced in the "Darth Vader" #2 comic book from 2017, from Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Joe Caramagna, and Cam Smith. The story sees Vader talking about the Vow and how it's a way for Jedi to seek penitence by focusing solely on the Force. This is on full display on "The Acolyte," with Torbin not speaking to anyone for 10 years, granting him the power to be invulnerable to attacks, but he's still aware of his surroundings and makes a sacrifice that he sees fit to atone for his perceived sins. 

As for its namesake, that draws from Jedi Master Barash Silvain in the 2023 comic book "Star Wars: The High Republic — The Blade" #4, from Soule and Jethro Morales. The story sees Barash blame herself for a conflict that resulted in numerous deaths, so she takes a vow to atone. Since then, many Jedi have taken similar pledges to step away from the Jedi Order and center themselves within the Force, with "The Acolyte" now making the concept more mainstream. 

What could Torbin's Barash Vow mean for the rest of The Acolyte?

Many have taken the Barash Vow outside of Torbin in "Star Wars." Kirak Infil'a is a major Jedi who survived Order 66 because he was in exile taking the vow. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) was in a similar state prior to the events of "Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi." He, too, sought penance for thinking of killing his nephew, Ben Solo (Adam Driver). In every instance, a Jedi becomes disillusioned or believes they failed in their duty as a Jedi.

Jedi are supposed to be paragons of order in the galaxy, but as fans have seen repeatedly, they don't always live up to that ideal. In fact, Jedi can be downright villains, and it's been clear from "The Acolyte" trailer the show wanted to explore that idea. At the very least, the new series could show how the Jedi are hypocritical in how they go about attaining order and balance. Something clearly happened in the past between Mae and Osha (also Amandla Stenberg) that involves Torbin, Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo), Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), and Sol (Lee Jung-jae). Torbin clearly felt so torn up about what happened he exiled himself and refused to speak for years, and he saw the only way out was to drink poison of his own accord. 

The Barash Vow represents a massive failure on behalf of the Jedi. Mae clearly sees herself in the right with whatever happened all those years ago, to the point that she's tracking down the Jedi she views as responsible. And there's another mysterious power out there guiding Mae, so perhaps instead of a straightforward light and dark side, there are more shades of gray to come on "The Acolyte."