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If somebody gave you a bottle of wine, and you say I don't drink. They ask why, and you answer, jokingly 'I'm a nazir'. Did you take on a vow even though you only intended to joke?

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    Please do not do this
    – Heshy
    Oct 15, 2021 at 9:46
  • Why do you think one, who jokingly says he's a nazir, might have taken on a vow?
    – Tamir Evan
    Oct 15, 2021 at 11:57
  • I wonder if in front of two witnesses we'd say דברים שבלב אינם דברים, and they can force him to keep nezirus. By oneself should definitely be fine, since didn't mean it.
    – robev
    Oct 15, 2021 at 14:31
  • @robev not sure that's true if it sounded like he was joking or even sounded likely that he could have been joking. Oct 15, 2021 at 15:24
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    As mentioned above, there might be a question of עד אחד נאמן באיסורים, if so the listeners might believe him and force him to keep nezirus. But I don't know why he can't turn around and say, "I'm really not a nazir!" - that's also עד אחד. It's obvious that he was not making a vow.
    – MichoelR
    Oct 15, 2021 at 16:11

3 Answers 3

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Cases like this are best handled by a qualified authority of Jewish Law so if this question actually applies to you I would recommend speaking with a rabbi.

The Shulchan Aruch rules (YD 217:1) that in terms of vows we follow the local speech patterns (בנדרים אחר לשון בני אדם) so it seems to me in this case the person was obviously joking and therefore we would not hold him to his words. See also YD 218:1 which speaks more on this and also the commentaries there.

But as user Heshy said in the comments, please do not do this. We see that taking vows over mitzvos are even more "binding" than vows about anything else (Nedarim 8a, YD 213:2).

Something I ponder on is whether or not a person who did take a vow of Nezirus nowadays if they would be able to perform Hataras Nedarim and be free from their vow. I honestly don't see why not. But that is a further question that cannot be answered here.

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Please don't try this.

The Mishna Nazir 11A says

מָזְגוּ לוֹ אֶת הַכּוֹס וְאָמַר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר מִמֶּנּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר

If a cup of wine was mixed for someone and he said "I am a nazir from it." He is a Nazir

The Rambam Hilchos Nezirus 1:11 says further (also based on further in the Mishna)

מָזְגוּ לוֹ כּוֹס שֶׁל יַיִן וְנָתְנוּ לוֹ לִשְׁתּוֹת וְאָמַר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר מִמֶּנּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר גָּמוּר. וְאִם הָיָה מַר נֶפֶשׁ אוֹ כּוֹעֵס אוֹ מִתְאַבֵּל וְהָיוּ מְבַקְּשִׁין מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁיִּשְׁתֶּה כְּדֵי לְשַׁכֵּחַ עֲמָלוֹ וְאָמַר הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר מִמֶּנּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר בְּאוֹתוֹ הַכּוֹס בִּלְבַד וְאֵינוֹ נָזִיר. שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן זֶה אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁתֶּה כּוֹס זֶה

If a cup of wine was mixed for a person and given to him to drink and he said: "I am a Nazir from it," he is a completely a Nazir If he was embittered , angry, or in mourning and the others were trying to have him drink to cause him to forget hs turmoil and he said: "I am a nazir from this [cup]," he is forbidden to drink only that cup, but he is not a nazir. Because his intent was only that he would not drink that cup.

Neither the Rambam not the Mishna make any allowances for saying I was joking. They both clearly say that you become a Nazir for saying it in this context. If it were only talking about someone who WANTED to be a Nazir then of course he would become one by saying so. Why would we think otherwise?

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  • I'm not sure how this answers the question.
    – Double AA
    Nov 19, 2021 at 1:56
  • Neither the Rambam not the Mishna make any allowances for saying I was joking. They both clearly say that you become a Nazir for saying it. If it were only talking about someone who WANTED to be a Nazir then of course he would become one by saying so
    – Schmerel
    Nov 19, 2021 at 2:03
  • I don't find that argument so compelling.
    – Double AA
    Nov 19, 2021 at 2:12
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In the specific case of the OP, there is a first reason he would not become a nazir:

He explained he is a nazir, he didn't say he becomes a nazir.

So, he lied. But he didn't received nezirus.

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    Hareini Nazir can translate into “I am a Nazir”. So not sure why you assume this isn’t a Neder. Perhaps it’sa neder havai and doesn’t work.
    – Chatzkel
    Oct 20, 2021 at 2:42
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    @Chatzkel הריני = הרי אני
    – yO_
    Oct 20, 2021 at 6:47
  • Hareini is more "here I am". It is a transformation.
    – yO_
    Oct 20, 2021 at 6:50

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