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If someone verbalizes to himself something like "I promise not to drink Coke for a year" and his intention is to create a prohibition for himself, what does the halacha have to say about this case?

Is it prohibited for him to now drink Coke for a year? Why?

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Masheces Nedarim,Hilchos Shevuos is a good start –  sam Aug 21 at 20:15
@sam Why not Maseces Shevuos and Hilchos Nedarim? –  Double AA Aug 21 at 20:20
Ha ha,touché... –  sam Aug 21 at 20:29
If he doesn't keep his promise, his doctor, eventually may make him do so :-) –  DanF Aug 21 at 20:48

2 Answers 2

According to the expalanation in this article, yes, he does have to refrain unless annuled based on the notion that he made the vow unwittingly.

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For what it's worth, that article was written by a leader of the Conservative movement. –  Gavriel Aug 22 at 5:37
OK - What's your point, here? B/c he's Conservative his opinion on this topic is worth less, or worthless? –  DanF Aug 22 at 12:23
I specifically started the sentence with "For what it's worth" so that I wouldn't get asked that question, but since you have... It seems to me that most people who are answering questions on this site are Orthodox so the safe assumption would be that answers are GENERALLY coming from the orthodox "camp". Since it's not readily apparent from your answer or the article that the information is not from the orthodox "camp" I wanted to point that out. –  Gavriel Aug 23 at 19:06
And to address your question specifically: according to the normal understanding of the Rambam (by Orthodox Jews) many conservative leaders are considered kofrim or apikorsim. And since Torah necessarily requires Yiras Shamayim and a whole bunch of other middos in order to learn/interpret it properly (it's not an academic task) I assumed that for many people (Orthodox Jews) the fact that the author of this article is a conservative leader is extremely important. –  Gavriel Aug 23 at 19:09
@Gavriel - got the concept as well as the follow-up bout Rambam (wouldn't mind a source, exp. since Rambam lived long before Conservatism!) While I am Orthodox, I wouldn't automatically dismiss any Jews opinion solely based on their group affiliation or preference, esp. if that opinion is based on qualified source and research. –  DanF Aug 25 at 14:44

I made a promise in a business transaction, when i asked a halachic question of Rav Asher Weiss's Beit Din in Ramot about whether i needed to honor my promise or not, upon answering a few questions i was told that i do not have to. The basic situation was that since the other party was changing the terms of the agreement upon which the promise was made (derech Lavan) so my word was no longer binding. Although this does indicate that ones word has strong legal ability but each case may have different circumstances.

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I like your "Derech Lavan" allusion. –  DanF Aug 25 at 20:52

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