Inspired by the answer to this question, is it valid for Jews to Make an oath to prevent themselves from performing mitzvoth which proceed from their choices, for example vowing to not do Shiluach haken and then picking up eggs under a bird. Or no, is this different from time bound positive mitzvot and you can’t vow to exempt yourself. Or would it be that the vow is effective but you would be prohibited from doing what would normally require that mitzvah?

  • I'm having trouble reconciling the title with the body of the question- mezuzah is in no way optional, whether one rents or buys a home Commented Feb 24 at 18:14
  • @יהושעק maybe that the vow would prohibit you from living in property?
    – AKA
    Commented Feb 24 at 19:12
  • @Kirk I think a Mitzvah like the commandment to put a parapet on a flat roof is probably a better example: outorah.org/p/23432 Commented Feb 24 at 22:20
  • @Chatzkel bingo. And by that logic, "I won't shoo away any mother birds" is fine, because just avoid bird's nests altogether. If he then encounters one, ignore it and walk away! If he takes the eggs -- either he shooed away the mother and gets whipped for violating the oath, or he didn't, and gets whipped for violating the commandment. "I won't shoo away the mother before taking eggs" would be an invalid oath.
    – Shalom
    Commented Feb 25 at 11:55
  • Mezuzah is optional. You don't need to live in a home with valid doors. Commented Mar 10 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


The Radvaz on the Rambam Shavuos 1:6 discusses a shavua not to wear tzitzis. Although the case is not mentioned in the Gemara, the Rambam adds it in to the list. He explains that it referring to someone who says he will wear a four cornered garment and not put on tzitzis. However, if one would just swear not to wear tzitzis it would be a valid shavua and he simply would be prohibited from wearing four cornered garments

כיצד כגון שנשבע שלא יתעטף בציצית. שיתעטף בטלית המחוייבת בציצית ולא יטיל בה ציצית שנמצא נשבע לבטל את המצוה אבל אם נשבע סתם שלא יתעטף בציצית אין זו שבועה לבטל את המצוה שהרי יכול ללבוש בגד שאינו מחוייב בציצית

This would indicate that a vow that would avoid putting yourself into a situation to become mechuyav in the mitzvah, is a valid vow.

  • 1 This source is about oaths not vows. 2 The question asked if it is permitted not if it is binding.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 25 at 17:49
  • “ Or would it be that the vow is effective but you would be prohibited from doing what would normally require that mitzvah?”
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Feb 25 at 18:26

As we learned in Nedarim (Perek bes Mishnah bes) we can’t make an oath to anull a mitzvah. https://www.sefaria.org/Mishnah_Nedarim.2.2?lang=bi The Gemara goes on to say that the reason is that since we made an oath at Har Sinai to do the mitzvos, we can’t make an oath against an oath we already made.

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