Hattarat Nedarim / The Release Of Vows

In Reb Zalman’s intro to Kol Nidre, one finds the following (adapted): 

“We know that we’ve often made vows [with God].  We meant to keep the word we gave when we wanted to bribe God with good deeds, [but we didn’t always do so].  Thus, we now state we will live our weakness and strength as it flows; and make no more vows, give no more bribes and pledge no more oaths.  And if in weakness we vow, we void them, right now, so that freely we see God and person.”

Please use the following from Reb Zalman as part of your Rosh Hashanah preparations.  The court session to annul vows is typically done on erev Rosh Hashanah which is Monday, Sept 29th, 2008 before sunset.  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor

Hattarat Nedarim / The Release Of Vows
Based upon the Traditional Formula
Updated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi


My friends: I ask the three of you to constitute a court empowered to release one from vows, and to serve as judges in that court. Will you please serve for me in this capacity?

The judges:

Yes, we are prepared to serve and to hear you.


What follows is not intended to void promises I made to other people, from which, only they can release me.

In the last year, I have made vows which were at times spoken out loud, or at times, only kept in thought as an intention, or a resolution to change something in my actions, behavior or attitudes. Some of these were in relation to myself:  My body, mind, or soul; some dealt with the way in which I conducted myself in relation to others; but most of all, there were those that dealt with my relation to God.

At times, I undertook a practice, or a custom, and performed it at least three times, having since, either willingly, or unwillingly abandoned it.  And I know that this, too, has the power of a vow.

At other times, when I asked for prayers for some people, whether they were prayers for healing, for blessing or for the repose of souls departed, prayers which included the formula, “On account of this, I shall contribute tzedakah,” I may have forgotten to do that, or may not have been aware.  I ask you to release me from these, too.

All these I regret, and I ask you to recognize my regret and release me from all those vows.

The judges:

Hearing your regret, we release you. All is forgiven, all is released, and may it be that just as we, here below, release you from these vows and obligations, so may it be that, at the same time, you are released from them by the court above.


As I stand here, aware of my fickle nature in matters of vows, promises and resolutions, I hereby declare that for the coming year, should I again offer such vows, promises and resolutions, may they have no effect and be not binding upon me. At this moment I regret any of these and do not wish them to be valid.

The judges:

We have heard your declaration and consider it licit and legal.

May you be blessed with a good year, inscribed in the book of life and sealed for good.

One Response to “Hattarat Nedarim / The Release Of Vows”

  1. Letting Go: Preparing for Hattarat Nedarim « Reb Laura…On Sophia Street Says:

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