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Who came up with the Bli Neder loophole of:

Bli neder I will help you do X


Bli neder I will etc...

And the list can go on and on.

Who came up with addingBli Neder which basically means "Without a promise" to things that seem like promises?!

Does that remove one from the obligation of the promise?

I have even heard people say:

I promise Bli Neder....

Really now?

How does all of this work, and what are the ramifications in halacha?

Side points and references:

  • Here is a whole article on nedarim on general
  • Quote from here:

    Bli Neder
    A "neder" is a formal commitment. "B'li Neder" means "without making a formal commitment." Not to be true to ones word is itself considered a sin in Judaism. Therefore, not to become entrapped in the sin of violating ones commitments, one adds this expression (B'li Neder) when committing oneself to an action or behavior such as in this calendar. To avoid confusion - one must truly intend to keep ones word in order for this qualifier (or this calendar for that matter) to have any real meaning. This expression is not valid in business contracts and legal obligations

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ShA YD 211:1 and 210:3 and 203:4 – Double AA Oct 21 '13 at 1:10
Haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it's relevant: torahmusings.com/2015/07/hilkhos-bli-neder – Isaac Moses Jul 14 '15 at 2:43
up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to Alex's answer here (which I asked for this very purpose):

"A neder, by definition, is either declaring something to be forbidden to oneself, or taking on an obligation to bring a korban or give tzedakah (Rambam, ibid. 1:1-2 and Matnos Aniyim 8:1)."

So even if saying bli neder CAN circumvent a vow, logic dictates that it would only work on a neder, and not on a shevua. The cases you bring up in your question pertain to shevu'ot (except for the last one when referring to tzedaka), and since the wrong term is used, bli neder may not apply.

On the other hand, the Rambam writes (Hilchot Shevuot 2:12) that when one makes a shevua, his intentions must match up with what he says. For example, if one says that he will give a 180 dollar donation, while really he means to say 180 shekel hadash, he is not tied down to his oath. I would presume that similarly here, just because one says he will do something, if he does not intend for it to be binding, it may not apply. Assuming this logic is true, the words "bli neder" would not actually have to be said, as long as they are his intent.

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I read it in sefer Kisur Shulhan Aruch of Rav Gansfried with Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, that he brings a Tosafot in Besa 20A that says you must say Beli Neder before you say what you are trying to say.

EDIT: The earliest source I have seen is this Tosafot.

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that brings this minhag – Hacham Gabriel Dec 14 '11 at 20:33
Can you please give a reference to the Kisur Shulhan Aruch and the starting words of the Tosfot. – Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 14 '11 at 21:32
"nazir" ks"a 67:3 – Hacham Gabriel Dec 14 '11 at 22:03
here's a link to the kitzur shulchan aruch: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=41277&pgnum=162 – Menachem Dec 15 '11 at 17:03
The source is not the Kitzur, it's Rav Mordechai Eliyahu' comments – Hacham Gabriel Dec 15 '11 at 17:09

The problem people are trying to address is the concern that making an affirmative statement such as "I will XYX" may be considered a form of neder. Thus, to formally rule that possibility out a person may either start or end the sentence with bli neder. I believe this usually works along the lines of 'toch k'dei dibur', meaning that you can alter something that you've said if you do so immediately after having said it.

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@Vram I believe a halachik shevu'a involves the name of God and possibly holding on to a mitzvah item. torah.org/learning/halacha-overview/chapter30.html Are you thinking of a nedava? – none Feb 29 '12 at 3:58
"The problem people are trying to address is the concern that making an affirmative statement such as "I will XYX" may be considered a form of neder." Isn't "I will XXX", more common than "I promise XXX"? Can it be that the poskim over the years have never addressed this issue and determined one way or the other if it is a neder or not? Hard to believe. – Lazer Feb 2 '15 at 22:52

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