Hatarat Nedarim (Annulment of Vows) for Women

You are here:
< Back

Note: There is a widespread custom to annul any doubtful vows on erev Rosh HaShanah by reciting a set text in the presence of an ad hoc beth din of three laymen.

Dear Rabbi Simon,
Are women obligated in Hatarat Nedarim? If so, can this be done at home, without 3 adult males in attendance? Where (ideally online) can I find the “text” of hatarat nedarim?
Thanks & Shana Tova

Hi Lisa
Thank you for your question.
Hatarat nedarim requires a bet din (even ad hoc, as is customarily the case) of three men. For this reason it is generally impractical for one to do this at home (unless s/he has access to three men on-site). The prevailing minhag is that women do not perform the hatarat nedarim ritual, but rather they rely on participating in the Kol Nidrei service on Yom Kippur night. Note that it is proper (and perhaps necessary) to recite the text in your machzor together with the Shaliach Tzibur in order for this to be effective.
WRT the text, you can find it in your siddur (Artscroll p. 762) or RH machzor (p. 2). Also online here: http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/sidurim/sfarad/rosh/hatarat.htm
A married woman may designate her husband to be her agent to nullify her vows together with his own, however this strategy is limited to a wife-husband situation. A man (or presumably woman) may not designate a friend or relative to act on his/her behalf.
All of this, however, is applicable to generic personal meritorious commitments one may have made, and possibly forgotten about. But if one is aware of a particular vow which s/he has definitely made and from which she would like to be released, she may and should approach a rabbi who, together with two others, can generally release her from her vow. This can be done at any time, and is not limited to erev RH.
I hope this is helpful.
Best wishes and Shanah Tovah
Rabbi Rashi Simon

Previous Can Tashlich be recited on Shabbat?
Next Meeting with Royalty
Questions & Answers
this week

Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
Events / Calendar