Hataras Nedarim

Hataras Nedarim

 

Erev Rosh Hashanah:

It is customary to perform Hataras Nedarim on Erev Rosh Hashanah.[1] This is hinted to in the verse “Lo Yachel Divaro Kichol” “Do not transgress your word” as its ending letters are an acronym for Elul.[2] The procedure of this Hataras Nedarim includes two parts 1) nullifying one’s previous vows [i.e. Hataras Nedarim] and 2) stipulating on the future vows of the coming year [Modaah].[3]

When is it done?[4] One says Hataras Nedarim [after Shacharis[5]] before midday.[6] [If one did not do so he may perform Hataras Nedarim up until nightfall [Tzeis Hakochavim] of Rosh Hashanah. See Q&A!]

With how many people is it done? It is proper to say Hataras Nedarim with a group of ten men.[7] [If this is not possible one is to say Hataras Nedarim in front of three men which are listening and annulling his vow.]

Being an expert in the laws:[8] It is proper for every person to review the laws of vows prior to performing Hataras Nedarim as there are many vows that cannot be revoked.

 

Laws & Customs

1. Severity of vows:

One is not to be accustomed in making vows. One who makes a vow, even if he fulfills it, is called a Rasha and a sinner.[9] One who makes a vow is considered like one who built a Bama at a time that building Bamos are forbidden. One who fulfills the vow is considered as if he has brought a sacrifice on a Bama altar, as it is better to revoke the vow through a sage then to fulfill it.[10] One is to avoid swearing even regarding truthful matters. Yanai the king had 1000 cities destroyed due to swearing even though he fulfilled his word.[11] One who is not careful regarding vows and swears causes death to his wife and young children.[12]

 

2. Saying Beli Neder:[13]

Every person is to accustom himself to recite Beli Neder upon giving his word for something. This applies even when pledging charity and the like.

 

3. Nidrei Tzedaka-Pledging charity:[14]

One who stated [without saying Beli Neder] that he will give a donation to a Shul [or their charity organization] is not to delay its payment. An angel is created from the promised donation and awaits its payment. The angel’s wrath is provoked if the payment is delayed. One is Halachicly obligated to pay the Shul immediately upon the Gabai requesting payment. One who delays payment after this request transgresses the prohibition of “Bal Tiacher”.

 

General Q&A

4. Are women to perform Hataras Nedarim?[15]

Women do not say Hataras Nedarim on Erev Rosh Hashanah. This is primarily due to reasons of Tznius.[16] Appointing the husband as an emissary: One’s wife may appoint her husband to nullify the vows for her, having the husband mention this during the annulment.[17] Some[18] write it is proper to do so on Erev Rosh Hashanah in order so the wife also benefits from Hataras Nedarim. In such a case the husband is to tell the tribunal that he is annulling the vows also on behalf of his wife and in return the tribunal is to answer him in plural tense “Hakol Mutarim Lachem”. No other woman may appoint a man as an emissary to nullify vows for her before a court, and rather she must do so herself.[19] See “General laws of revoking vows” for further details of a husband serving as an emissary for his wife.

 

5. Are children to perform Hataras Nedarim?[20]

No. Children do not perform Hataras Nedarim until they reach the age of Bar Mitzvah.

 

6. May one perform Hataras Nedarim after sunset of Erev Rosh Hashanah?[21]

One may perform Hataras Nedarim even after sunset, during Bein Hashmashos, up until nightfall [Tzeis Hakochavim]. However as writes Admur in the Siddur it is initially to be done before midday.

 

7. Who is to stand and who is to sit during Hataras Nedarim?[22]

The custom today is that the individual requesting the annulment remains standing while the judges remain seated throughout the process.

 

8. If one did not do Hataras Nedarim on Erev Rosh Hashanah, when is it to be performed?[23]

It is to be performed during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah.

 

Q&A on the reader

9. If one does not understand the paragraph being read should he read it in a different language?[24]

Yes. One must read the annulment of vows in a language that he understands. It is invalid if one read the Hebrew Nussach thinking it is some kind of prayer or supplication and did not understand its meaning and purpose.

 

10. May more than one person at a time read the annulment?

It is permitted for the tribunal to annul the vows of multiple individuals simultaneously.[25] Nevertheless initially there should not be more than one person at a time reading the request for annulment. However in a pressing situation one may allow multiple individuals to read the request simultaneously.[26] In such a case the tribunal is to recite in the Nussach of annulment “Mutar Lachem” in pluralץ[27]

 

Q&A on the judges of the tribunal

11. Of what age are the members of the tribunal to be?[28]

They need to be above Bar Mitzvah and must already have a beard.[29] However some[30] write that regarding the Hataras Nedarim performed on Erev Rosh Hashanah, this is not necessary, and as long as the person annulling the vow is Bar Mitzvah it suffices.

 

12. May the members of the tribunal who annul the vow be relatives of each other?[31]

Yes. They may also be a relative of the person asking for the annulment.

 

13. May women be part of the tribunal to annul vows?[32]

No.

 

14. May a husband or father be part of the tribunal to annul the vow of his wife or daughter?[33]

A husband cannot serve as part of the tribunal of judges to annul the vow of his wife.[34] However a father may serve as part of the tribunal to annul the vows of his daughter.

 

15. Should one strive that the members of the tribunal who annul his vow have already said their annulment?[35]

Some[36] are particular to only have those who already released their vows come along and release the binding of one who is still bound. However many are not particular in this and on the contrary they are zealous to be the first ones to release their vows.[37] The Rebbe’s custom was not to be particular in this matter.[38]

 

Q&A on the annulment process

16. Must one particularize the vows that he is requesting to revoke?[39]

This depends on whether one remembers the vow he is requesting to annul.[40] If one does not remember a particular vow at the time of the annulment, and is simply asking to annul all vows that he possibly made, or vows that their details were forgotten, then the annulment is valid. However those vows which one remembers their details must be verbalized to at least one of the members of the tribunal which is performing the annulment. If one does not mention the vow despite having knowledge of it then the tribunal may not annul the vow for him. In such a case, that one particularizes a specific vow, the people annulling the vow must know the laws involved in whether such a vow may be annulled and how.[41] [Nevertheless some[42] write that the above does not apply by the Nussach of Admur of Hataras Nedarim and it is hence not necessary to mention the vow to any members of the tribunal. Nevertheless the person himself must have knowledge in Halacha of whether this vow may be revoked.]

To how many members of the tribunal must one mention a vow that he knows of?[43] It must be verbalized to at least one of the members of the tribunal which is performing the annulment. It is not necessary that the other members know of the details of the vow [unless the member of the tribunal that was told of the vow does not know whether the law allows for it to be revoked-See next Q&A!]. [It is not necessary for this person who is told the vow to be part of the three men of the tribunal and he can even be a fourth person added to the tribunal. This allows one to say the vow to a person of his choosing if he is not comfortable revealing it before the tribunal.[44]]

Must one mention all the details of the vow:[45] One must mention all the details of the vow that he originally verbalized in order for the tribunal to properly know if it can be annulled. However regarding the reason and inner motivation behind his making of the vow-see next!

Must one mention the reason for why he made the vow? Some Poskim[46] rule one must also mention the reason behind the making of the particular vow. Others[47] however rule there is no need to do so and so is the custom.[48] [This refers only to the reason behind one’s initial making of the vow and should not be confused with mentioning the reason why one now desires to revoke the vow, as will be explained in Halacha 18!]

 

17. Which vows are allowed to be revoked by the tribunal?

Not all vows have the ability to be revoked by the tribunal. Such vows hence remain intact even after performing Hataras Nedarim. Thus in a case that one remembers a vow that he made [and thus mentions the vow to a member of the tribunal], the people annulling the vow must know the laws involved in whether such a vow may be annulled and how to do a Pesach and Charata for the vow, as will be explained next.

 

General laws of revoking vows

18. How is a vow revoked?[49]

* There are two ways a vow can be revoked. One is through Charata and a second is through a Pesach. Practically today we perform both a Pesach and Charata. The following is the explanation:

The person requesting the annulment must regret the vow from the time of its initiation. This means that he regrets ever having made the vow. This is called Charata. If he does not regret the vows initiation and simply regrets its continued validity then the annulment is invalid. In such a case the judge is to find a Pesach [i.e. convincing argument] for the asker. This is done by asking him “If you would have known that this and this would occur would you have still made the vow?” If he answers “no” then it is a valid Pesach. He is then to also be asked if he regrets making the vow to begin with.[50] Practically the custom is to be stringent and perform a Pesach even when the asker expresses regret for the vow. Thus after he expresses his regret the judge is to ask him “If you would have knows that this and this would occur would you have still made the vow”.[51]

Must the judges be told the reason that one regrets the vow?[52] It is proper that the judges be told by the asker the reason that he regrets the vow.

Being truthful:[53] The person requesting the annulment must truthfully regret having made the vow to begin with. If he does not regret it from its initiation but tells the judges, upon being asked, that he regrets it from that time, the annulment is invalid and the vow is still in effect.

 

19. Nidrei Issur:[54]

Some Poskim[55] rule one may never revoke a vow that was made regarding a prohibition. This applies even if one made the vow over a Rabbinical prohibition. If a tribunal transgressed and revoked the vow it is disputed as to whether the revoking is valid.[56] Others[57] however rule that if the person cannot control himself from transgressing the prohibition, and hence not revoking the vow will cause him to transgress it, then it may be revoked. Practically one is to contact a Rav regarding if the vow may be revoked.[58]

 

20. Neder Al Daas Chaveiro:[59]

It is explained in Gemara and Poskim that one can only ask for the revoking of a vow that relates to himself, such as one who vows to eat or not to eat and the like. However that which one swears to a friend or to one who makes him swear then it can never be revoked.[60]

 

21. Nidrei Mitzvah-When does a Chumra or custom require Hataras Nedarim?[61]

If one performed a Chumra one time with intent to continue doing so forever it has the status of a vow. If he performed the Chumra or custom three[62] times it is considered a vow even if he did not have in mind to do so forever.[63] For this reason whenever accepting a new Hiddur, Chumra, or custom one is to explicitly state that he is not accepting this upon himself as a vow, and he is only doing so one time or whenever he decides.[64]

A Mitzvah:[65] If one accepted upon himself to perform a certain Biblical or Rabbinical Mitzvah [and not merely a stringency[66]], such as to distribute charity, or learn a certain matter, or perform another Mitzvah, then it is considered a vow [unless he explicitly stated “Beli Neder”]. One is thus to initially state “Beli Neder” upon taking a new Shiur or learning schedule upon himself.[67]

In a pressing circumstance: If a circumstance came up in which it poses difficulty for one to keep his Chumra,  Hiddur, or custom then if it is unusual to accept this Hiddur even in such circumstances then one is not required to perform Hataras Nedarim. Thus if one feels weak on a annual personal fast day that he accepted upon himself, such as Erev Rosh Hashanah, he is not required to fast and is not required to perform Hataras Nedarim.[68]

A mistaken custom or Chumra:[69] If one thought that a certain matter was required from the letter of the law and it then became revealed that it is permitted, it is disputed[70] as to whether it is required to be revoked. Practically the custom is to be lenient and not require Hataras Nedarim.[71] Thus if one followed a certain practice due to doubt and later on verified that it is not necessary, it is not required to be revoked. Likewise if one thought the matter was very severe and then discovered that it is not so severe, he does not require Hatara.[72]

 

22. May one appoint an emissary to annul a vow for him before three judges?

A person must personally appear before the judges in order to have his vow revoked and he cannot appoint an emissary to do so in his place.[73] The only exception to this rule is regarding one’s wife as explained next.

Appointing one’s husband as an emissary: One’s wife may appoint her husband to nullify the vows for her, having the husband mention this during the annulment.[74] Nevertheless in such a case the husband may not assemble a tribunal specifically for the purpose of annulling his wife’s vows and rather only if they are already assembled can he act as an emissary to do so.[75] No other woman, including one’s daughters, may appoint a man to nullify the vows for her, and rather she must do so herself.[76] The husband cannot serve as part of the tribunal of judges to annul the vow of his wife. This applies even if his wife appears before the tribunal and hence the husband is not acting as an emissary.[77]

 

23. The Nussach of the annulment:[78]

The annulment is validated by the tribunal reciting one of the following set of words to the person requesting the annulment: “Mutar Lach” or “Sharuy Lach” or “Machul Lach”. The chosen set of words is to be recited three times by the tribunal to the person requesting the annulment.[79] Bedieved if the set of words was only recited one time it is nevertheless valid.[80] The above set of words may be said in any language.[81] [The custom today however is for the tribunal to recite the Nussach written in the Siddur[82] for Hataras Nedarim. This Nussach is recited three times and contains all the above set of words and a particularization of the effect of the annulment.]

 

Q&A on the Modah-Stipulation

24. Are all one’s future vows invalidated due to the stipulation made by Hataras Nedarim?[83]

This depends on whether one remembered his stipulation at the time of the vow. If one remembered the stipulation made during Hataras Nedarim at the time that he said the vow, then the vow is binding and not considered annulled.[84] Furthermore all future vows from that point and on are considered valid even if he did not remember the stipulation.[85] If however at the time of saying the vow one did not remember the stipulation, then in such a case it is considered null and void.[86] Nevertheless one may only rely on this stipulation to invalidate his vow in a pressing situation. In a non pressing situation one must seek a Beis Din to annul the vow.[87]

Chumras and customs: Some opinions[88] rule that those vows which came as a result of following a Chumra or Hiddur Mitzvah, such as one who performed a Hiddur three times, then the stipulation made during Hataras Nedarim is valid to uproot the status of vow from the Hiddur, even if it does not involve a time of need. [This however only applies if one did not remember the stipulation at the time of performing the Mitzvah. If however he remembered the stipulation and disregarding it performed the Mitzvah without saying Bli Neder, the Mitzvah receives the status of a vow.[89]]

 

Matters to be publicized to those which are asking for annulment by the tribunal:[90]

  1. The nullification is only valid for vows he made between him and himself. However those vows that were sworn to him by another person [Al Daas Chaveiro] cannot be annulled [without permission[91]]. Likewise future vows of this sort cannot be stipulated on.[92]
  2. Regret:[93] The person requesting the annulment must regret the vow from the time of its initiation. This means that he regrets ever having made the vow. If he does not regret the vows initiation and simply regrets its continued validity then the annulment is invalid. In such a case the judge is to find a Pesach [i.e. argument] for the asker. This is done by asking him “If you would have knows that this and this would occur would you have still made the vow?” If he answers “no” then it is a valid Pesach. He is then to also be asked if he regrets making the vow to begin with.[94] Practically the custom is to be stringent and perform a Pesach even when the asker shows regret for the vow. Thus after he expresses his regret the judge is to ask him “If you would have known that this and this would occur would you have still made the vow”.[95]


Checklist of Hataras Nedarim throughout the year:

  1. Gather three Jewish observant men that are above the age of 13 and have begun growing facial hair.
  2. Tell one of the judges the vow that one wishes to revoke.
  3. The judge must determine whether such a vow is able to be revoked according to Halacha.
  4. If it can be revoked, the tribunal is to ask the person whether he regrets making the vow from its initiation and what is the reason he regrets it.
  5. The tribunal is then to perform a Pesach by asking the person “If you knew that such and such would have come up would you have not made the vow to begin with.”
  6. If the person truthfully answers that he would not have made the vow then the tribunal is to tell him “Machul Lach” three times.
  7. After the above procedure the vow is officially annulled.

 


[1] Siddur Admur; Shlah [beginning of Miseches Yuma]; Peri Eitz Chaim [Shaar Rosh Hashanah] Shach Al Hatorah Matos; Birkeiy Yosef 581/21; Shaareiy Teshuvah 581/1; Kitzur SH”A 128/16; Chayeh Adam 138/8; Kaf Hachaim 581/19 and 99

Reasons mentioned for this custom: The reason why we annul all previous vows is in order to save oneself from retribution for not keeping a vow during the judgment of Rosh Hashanah. [Chayeh Adam 138/8; Kaf Hachaim 581/99] The custom for stipulating on future vows is based on the Gemara [Nedarim 23a] that one who wants to annul all of his vows of the future year is to perform Hataras Nedarim on Rosh Hashanah. From this spread the custom to say Kol Nidreiy on Erev Yom Kippur, although Zerizin Makdimim and do so already on Erev Rosh Hashanah. [Shlah beginning of tractate Yuma].

Other customs: Some have the custom to perform Hataras Nedarim forty days before Rosh Hashanah and again 40 days before Yom Kippur. The reason for this is because the Zohar states that one who was excommunicated in the heavenly courts remains in this state for a period of forty days and his prayers are not accepted above. Therefore they are careful starting from forty days earlier to revoke any excommunications so one’s prayer is accepted above on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Beis Keil community of Jerusalem is accustomed to recite Hataras Nedarim every Erev Shabbos of the entire year. [Kaf Hachaim 581/12] Some recite Hataras Nedarim on Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul. [Mishmeres Shalom 41/1]

[2] Shach Al Hatorah Matos; Birkeiy Yosef ibid; Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid; Kitzur SH”A ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[3] Shlah Hakadosh Miseches Yuma; Alef Lamateh 581/101; The laws of Hataras Nedarim are brought in Yoreh Deah chapter 228; The laws of Modaah are brought in Yoreh Deah 211/2

Why does one have to annul previous vows if he already nullified all of his future vows the previous Rosh Hashanah and by Kol Nidrei? Despite the stipulation, there are vows that nevertheless take effect. Thus to nullify these vows we recite Hataras Nedarim. [See Q&A for details] Alternatively, in previous times it was accustomed to perform the stipulation only by Kol Nidrei, and since it is possible that the stipulation then was invalid due to it not being heard by three other people, therefore one is required to revoke the vows. [See Minchas Yitzchak 9/61; To note that this explanation is not relevant today that we recite the stipulation on Erev Rosh Hashanah during Hataras Nedarim, in which case it is valid according to all. Thus one must resort to the first explanation brought above.]

Why does one need to say a Modah on his vows twice, by Hataras Nedarim and by Kol Nidreiy? The Tur 619 writes that the custom is to recite the stipulation on Erev Yom Kippur. The Shlah ibid writes that “Zrizin Makdimim Lemitzvos” and they hence precede the stipulation to Erev Rosh Hashanah. Some say the reason for this is because we suspect that perhaps one will not fulfill his obligation with the stipulation said on Erev Yom Kippur being that it requires another three people to hear him and that he thus must say it aloud to himself, which may not be fulfilled. [Minchas Yitzchak ibid]

[4] Siddur Admur [not found in the previous sources]

[5] Luach Kolel Chabad; Hiskashrus 947; The Rebbe would recite it while still wearing his Rashi Tefillin. [Otzer Minhagei Chabad 15; so was also the custom of the Munkatcher-Darkei Chaim Veshalom 700] Others however are accustomed to recite it using Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam. [Otzer ibid]

[6] The reason: There is no known source for why the vows are to be annulled prior to midday. Some suggest the reason for this is due to Zerizin Makdimim Lemitzvos, as is written regarding Bris Mila [See Pischeiy Teshuvah 262/2] Alternatively it is because it is not befitting to receive Nezifa after midday when the holiness of Rosh Hashanah has begun. [Glosses of Rav Raskin on Siddur p. 503] To note however that practically it is not our custom to recite Seder Nezifa, and hence this reason is not applicable today.

[7] Siddur Admur; Shlah beginning of tractate Yuma; Daas Torah 619/1; Siddur Yaavetz; Mateh Efraim 581/49,; Kaf Hachaim 581/20; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 700

The reason: The reason behind requiring ten men is because in order to annul the vow of a dream the nullification must be done in the presence of ten men. [Kaf Hachaim ibid] However in the Hataras Nedarim of Admur no mention is made of the vows of dreams, and thus it is difficult to suggest that this is Admur’s reasoning. The Rebbe explains that a Minyan is needed in order to be able to be Mitaken the world prior to Rosh Hashanah. [Likkutei Sichos 4/1332] The difference between the two explanations is that according to the first explanation a Minyan is needed in addition to the person saying the Hatara, while according to the latter explanation the person saying it is joined together with those being Matir for there to be a Minyan. [See Commentary on Siddur by Rav Raskin]

[8] Chayeh Adam 138/8; Kaf Hachaim 581/99

[9] Yoreh Deah 203/1

[10] Yoreh Deah 203/3

[11] Admur 156/2

[12] Alef Hamagen 581/102

[13] 203/4

[14] Alef Hamagen 581/102

[15] Piskeiy Teshuvos 581/18

[16] In Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid he writes that the women rely on Kol Nidrei to revoke their future vows. To note however that not all future vows are revoked with this stipulation, as will be explained later on. Likewise it does not help to revoke any of her previous vows. In any event those women that rely on Kol Nidrei must make sure that they understand the words they are reading, and must read along with the Chazan. Vetzaruch Iyun regarding reading it loud enough for another three people to hear, if this is valid even with other women.

[17] Yoreh Deah 234/36

The reason: Although the law states [228/16] that one cannot be an emissary to annul another person’s vows, nevertheless by one’s wife it is valid as one’s wife is considered like his own body, and hence it is as if she is present in the court room. [Shach 234/70; Taz 234/46]

What vows may the husband be an emissary for on behalf of his wife? A husband may be an emissary to annul any vow of his wife if she appoints him to do so for her. The limitation on the type of vows a husband can revoke is only with regards to Hafara [234/55 and 59]

[18] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Yabia Omer 2/30

[19] 228/16

[20] Piskeiy Teshuvos 581/18  in name of Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 128/24 [“They cannot be Matir their vows”]; Otzer Minhagei Chabad 14 [p. 39] “The custom is not to do so”; However see Halachos Vehalichos Bar Mitzvah 11/14; Chanoch Lenaar 33

[21] Peri Megadim 342 A”A 1

[22] Shach 228/9

Letter of the law: From the letter of the law there is no preference in whether the judges sit or stand during the annulment. [228/3] However this only applies when the annulment is taking place due to regret of the person who is requesting the annulment. If however the person does not regret making the vow to begin with and the judges must find a Pesach [i.e. reason to convince him to regret the vow from the start] then they must be sitting in order to properly contemplate the Pesach. [228/4] The above however is only regarding the tribunal of judges. However regarding the person requesting the vow there is no preference and he may be seated or standing. The reason for this is because the annulment of vows is not a court case that requires the standing of the litigants. [Shach 228/9; Taz 228/7] Nevertheless the custom is for the judges to always sit and the requester to always stand. The reason for this is because today we are accustomed to always use a Pesach to annul the vow. [Shach ibid] To note that when Hashem asked to revoke His vow he stood and thus the same should apply to anyone who desires to revoke his vow. [Yad Shaul 22/7 in Yados Nedarim of Rav Natanzon]

[23] Shlah beginning of Tractate Yuma

[24] Kitzur SH”A 128/16; Chayeh Adam 138/8; Alef Hamagen 581/102; Kaf Hachaim 581/99

[25] Yoreh Deah 228/2 and 46

[26] Mateh Efraim 581/49

[27] Michaber 228/2

[28] Piskeiy Teshuvos 581/16

[29] Pischeiy Teshuvah Yoreh Deah 228/2; Reb Akiva Eiger 73 and in 228/3; Sheivet Haleivi 4/94

This is based on the general ruling by all Hataras Nedarim that the people annulling the vow must have a beard. The reason they are to have a beard is because by Biblical matters we do not rely on the Chazaka that assumes they have grown two hairs by this time. Hence we require a beard as a full proof. [Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid; Rav Akiva Eiger ibid]

[30] Teshuvos Vehanhagos brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid. His reasoning is because since one is not particularizing his vow it is therefore not similar to the Biblical annulment which requires people to have a beard.

[31] Yoreh Deah 228/3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581/16

[32] Rav Akiva Eiger 228/3

[33] 234/57

[34] The reason: As one’s wife is considered like the same body as her husband, and he is hence invalid to revoke her vow. [Shach 234/7]

[35] Piskeiy Teshuvos 581/16; Otzer Minhagei Chabad 9

[36] ibid in name of Rav Shneur Zalman of Lublin, the Toras Chesed.

[37] Kinyan Torah 4/64

[38] Otzer ibid

[39] Michaber 228/14; Shivlei Haleket 317; Regarding Erev R”H: Derech Hachaim 138/1 [Nesiv Hachaim does not write a gloss on this ruling]; Alef Hamagen 581/102; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581/17; The law that one must particulate a vow is mentioned in the Nussach of Hataras Nedarim brought in Shlah ibid; Siddur Admur.

Background:

The Gemara Gittin 35b brings a dispute between Rav Papa and Rav Nachman regarding if one must mention his vow [“Lefaret Nidro”] to the Chacham. The Michaber ibid concludes: “Prior to annulling a vow one needs to mention the vow, and its motivating cause, to the tribunal. If one did not do so the nullification is invalid”. Thus the Michaber rules like Rav Papa and so rules the Rambam in Hilchos Shavuos 6/5. This requirement is only Rabbinical. [See Gemara ibid; Pischeiy Teshuvah 228/2] The reason for this requirement to verbalize the details of the vow is because there is worry that otherwise the person may ask to revoke a vow that cannot be revoked, either due to Halachic inability of revoking, or due to it causing a stumbling block to the asker and causing him to sin. [See Gemara ibid; Rashi there; Taz 228/19]

[40] Alef Hamagen ibid based on Nussach of Siddur

Although the Nussach in the Siddur reads that “since there are so many vows I cannot particulate them to the tribunal” this is only applicable to vows of which their details were forgotten. However those vows that one is aware of are not included in this statement and hence must be mentioned to a member of the tribunal for decision of whether the vow is retractable or not. [Alef Hamagen ibid]

[41] Pashut as that is the entire reason behind mentioning the vow, as explained in the sources brought in Background.

[42] Rav Shalom Ber Levin brought in glosses of Rav Raskin p. 506

His proof: Admur explicitly writes in his Nussach of Hataras Nedarim that one is asking for Hatara also on the vows “that are known to me”. Likewise the Nussach “however they are many and hence I cannot mention them” also implies that even the known vows are not mentioned. The reason for why one is not required to mention the vow, despite it being brought in Halacha, is because the entire reason for mentioning the vow is because the tribunal cannot annul a vow if legally it cannot be revoked and hence they must have knowledge of the vow in question. However in our Nussach we explicitly tell the tribunal  “I am not asking for Hatara on those vows that cannot be revoked” and hence there is no worry by the tribunal that they are annulling an irrevocable vow. [ibid]

Argument against their ruling: To note that despite the seemingly solid basis for the argument above the two great Poskim which wrote glosses on the Derech Hachaim, based on the Siddur of Admur, do not mention any change of opinion according to Admur. Neither Rav Lavut in Nesiv Hachaim or the Grac”h Naah in Shvil Hachaim make mention of a change in ruling. Veztaruch Iyun

[43] Michaber 228/14

[44] See Pischeiy Teshuvah 228/2 that permits revealing the vow even to a child above Bar Mitzvah even if it is unknown whether he has two hairs.

[45] Michaber 228/14; Taz 228/19 in explanation of Michaber; M”A 128/58; Yad Yosef 228/21

[46] Michaber 228/14 [as is simply understood by Perisha; Shach; M”A]; Perisha 228; Shach 228/25; M”A 128/58 in his first explanation and that so is the ruling of the Rashba.

[47] Taz 228/19 [in his explanation of the Michaber]; M”A ibid [in his final explanation] based on Tosafus Erechin 23; Yad Yosef 228/21 [Vetzaruch Iyun on his understanding of the Shach ibid]; See the Yad Yosef ibid; Degul Merivava 128 ibid for their question against the proof of the M”A from Tosafus.

Ruling of Admur: It is implied from the wording in Admur 128/52 that one is not required to verbalize the reason of the vow, as rules the M”A ibid. This is understood from the fact he simply states that the reason we require a Kohen to make a vow “Al Daas Rabim” is because otherwise he may go to a Chacham and request the vow to be revoked. Now if Admur held that one must mention the reason behind the vow this would be of no worry as the Sage will not revoke the vow when he hears of it. Now although the M”A ibid explains how this reason complies even according to the opinion of the Rashba and Michaber, nevertheless no hint towards this explanation is made in Admur, hence proving he holds like the custom that one is not required to mention the reason of the vow.

[48] “So is the custom”: so writes the Perisha ibid; Shach ibid; M”A ibid. The M”A ibid defends this custom of the world saying we follow Tosafus. However the Perisha questions it while the Shach ibid concludes “One who knows the reason for his vow must verbalize it and if he does not do so he is a sinner and one cannot bring proof from the Shotim”. Meaning the Shach says that those that are accustomed not to mention the reason are simply ignorant and no proof can be brought from them that the custom is to be lenient.

[49] 228/7

[50] This follows the stringent opinion that requires one to do both a Pesach and Charata. [Michaber and Rama ibid]

[51] Rama ibid

[52] Taz 228/11

[53] Michaber 228/7

[54] 228/15; Chochmas Adam 100/10

Definition: Nidrei Issur refers to a vow made over a matter that the Torah has already forbidden. Such as one who vows not to gamble, even though the Torah has already forbade gambling.

[55] Michaber ibid

[56] Michaber ibid records a dispute on this matter.

[57] Rama ibid

[58] Although the Rama ibid is lenient as stated above, nevertheless the Shach 228/27 brings Poskim that argue on the Rama and conclude that only in a case that one is does not do the sin for a living does it help to revoke the vow. However one who transgresses this sin constantly as his occupation, such as one who gambles, then the vow may not be revoked. Many Poskim conclude like the Shach ibid against the Rama. [See Chochmas Adam 100/10] Others however rule that the main opinion follows the Rama ibid, as in a case that one is unable to control himself it is considered like he is forced into the sin, and in such a case we apply the rule it’s better that one transgresses and revokes the vow on his friends behalf in order so the friend do a lesser sin. [Yad Shaul 228/19-Rav Yosef Shaul Nathenson] See also Atzei Levona in name of Beis Lechem Yehuda that if one made a vow to gamble because it leads to promiscuity with women then the vow may not be revoked even if he cannot control himself.

[59] Machzor Chabad printed in the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur. The Rebbe states that it is close to certain that these words were not written by Admur. [Likkutei Minhagim of Rebbe]

[60] Regarding swearing to a friend, such as swearing to him that he won’t leave the city and the like see Yoreh Deah 228/20 for those cases in which one may have the vow revoked, such as if he gets permission from his friend and cases in which doing so is not necessary.

[61] See Yoreh Deah 214/1; Admur 249/13; 161/8; 468/17; Alef Hamagen 581/102; Glosses of Rav Raskin on Siddur [Miluim 25]

[62] Admur 249/13; 468/17; Nussach of Hataras Nedarim in Siddur; Shaar Hakolel 41/3 [see there for a lengthy discussion of proofs for this matter]

Ruling of Michaber: The Michaber ibid does not state how many times the following off a Hiddur turns the Hiddur into a vow. The Kitzur SHU”A [in previous prints, brought in Shaar Hakolel ibid; Alef Hamagen ibid] questions this wording of the Nussach of “three times” stating that even one time requires Hatara. The Shaar Hakolel ibid answers his questions.

[63] Michaber ibid; Admur ibid; Alef Hamagen ibid

[64] Michaber ibid; Admur 161/8 [regarding Netilas Yadayim and other Mitzvos]; 249/13; 468/17 [that if one said Beli Neder it is not binding]

[65] 213/2 [in Michaber regarding learning and in Rama regarding all Mitzvos]; 203/4 and Shach 203/4 regarding charity; M”B 238/5 [regarding all matters of a Mitzvah]

[66] Meaning that upon performing this Mitzvah he fulfills a Biblical or Rabbinical command, even though he is not obligated to do so at the moment. Such as vowing charity to an institution is a Biblical Mitzvah of charity although initially he was never obligated to pledge the charity to this specific institution. This is opposed to a mere stringency of which its laws were discussed in the previous part of this Halacha.

[67] M”B ibid

[68] M”A 581/12; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Degul Merivava ibid and Yoreh Deah 214/1; Rama 568/2; 581/2 [regarding a Bris during Bahab or Aseres Yimei Teshuvah]

Opinion of Michaber and Shach: The Michaber 214/1 rules regarding the Hiddur of fasting during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah that even if one became weak he is required to do Hataras Nedarim. The Shach 214/2 explains that the reason for this is because only those circumstances that are publicly known not to be included within the Hiddur, such as eating during a Bris Mila during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah, do not require Hataras Nedarim. However an unexpected circumstance is included in the Hiddur and thus requires Hataras Nedarim. The Degul Merivava ibid argues against the Shach’s explanation and says the Michaber ibid ruling referred to a case that due to weakness the person wanted to revoke forever his custom, and for this everyone agrees that Hatara is required.

[69] 214/1

[70] First and Stam opinion of Michaber ibid is that it does not require Hatara. However he then brings a second lone opinion [Rashba and Ran] that rules it requires Hatara. The conclusion there is that the custom follow the first opinion.

[71] Conclusion of ruling of Michaber in parentheses.

[72] Shach 214/5; See Yad Yosef 214/4

[73] 228/16                                                                      

[74] Yoreh Deah 234/56

The reason: Although the law states [228/16] that one cannot be an emissary to annul another person’s vows, nevertheless by one’s wife it is valid as one’s wife is considered like his own body, and hence it is as if she is present in the court room. [Shach 234/70; Taz 234/46]

What vows may the husband be a emissary to annul on behalf of his wife? A husband may be an emissary to annul any vow that his wife appoints him to annul for her. The limitation on the type of vows a husband can revoke is only with regards to the laws of Hafara [234/55 and 59]

[75] Michaber ibid

The reason: Some rule the reason for this is because ideally one must personally appear before the tribunal and it is only due to leniency that they allowed the wife to send her husband. However to allow her husband to summon the tribunal on her behalf is considered a belittlement of the tribunal. [Taz 234/47] Alternatively the reason for this is in order to protect the wife’s privacy. [Shach 234/71] According to this latter reason if the wife allows her husband to gather the tribunal on her behalf, it is valid. [Levush brought in Shach ibid]

[76] As only by a wife is the rule of Ishto Kegufo applied.

[77] 234/57

The reason: As one’s wife is considered like the same body as her husband, and he is hence invalid to revoke her vow. [Shach 234/7]

[78] Michaber Yoreh Deah 228/3

[79] Michaber ibid

The reason: This is done in order to form a Chazaka. [Shach 228/6]

[80] Shach ibid; Beis Yosef; Bach in name of Rambam

[81] Rama ibid

[82] Siddur Admur; Shlah Tractate Yuma

[83] Yoreh Deah 211/2; Alef Hamagen 581/102; M”B 619/2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581/17

[84] 211/2

[85] Alef Hamagen 581/102

[86] Michaber ibid; The Michaber ibid however brings an opinion [opinion in Rambam Nedarim 2] that rules the vow is only invalidated due to the stipulation if one remembered the stipulation after making the vow, within the amount of time of Kdei Dibbur, and he explicitly thought in his mind to rely on the stipulation. The Michaber concludes that one is to suspect for this opinion. The Taz 211/3 however argues that according to all the stipulation is valid even if one remembers it much later on, after he made the vow, so long as he decides to validate the stipulation within Kdei Dibbur of remembering it. The Nekudos Hakesef however argues on the Taz and defends the understanding and ruling of the Michaber in the Rambam. See Birkeiy Yosef 228/2 that brings from the Shut of the Beis Yosef Avkas Rochel 176 that he does not suspect for the words of the Rambam at all. However here in his Shulchan Aruch he suspects for his opinion.

[87] Rama 211/1

[88] Salmas Chaim 467; Minchas Shlomo 91/20; Yabia Omer 2/30

[89] Piskeiy Teshuvos 581 footnote 111

[90] Alef Hamagen 581/102

[91] See Yoreh Deah 228/20 and for the cases of exception mentioned there!

[92] Alef Hamagen 581/102

[93] 228/7

[94] This follows the stringent opinion that requires one to do both a Pesach and Charata. [Michaber and Rama ibid]

[95] Rama ibid

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