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Mitzvos Relating to Our Fellow Man

29: Nullifying a Vow

"If a man makes a vow to Hashem... he may not nullify his words..." (Bemidbar 30:3)

The Talmud teaches that although one may not nullify his own vow, a sage can find a method to nullify his words (Chagigah 10b).

A vow is a commitment taken upon oneself for self-improvement, such as not to eat certain foods for a week or two in order to control one's desires. This can be meritorious, but it is better to train oneself without using a vow, saying "bli neder" (Rambam, Hilchos Nedarim 13:23-24). One who did make a vow has a mitzvah to nullify it through a sage to avoid the risk of transgressing it (ibid., 25).

Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and



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