If you promised to give a $500. a month to a given charity as long as you had the money, and later your expenses go up such that the only way to give the money to the charity is to not feed your family, are you still obligated to give the money?

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    Ask a rav. There may be way out of this. Generally, the practice is to not make vows for exactly this reason.
    – Tatpurusha
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 22:35
  • That's why we say "G-d willing!"
    – Anthony
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 5:33

1 Answer 1


Generally, a promise must be kept (and a promise to give charity is effective when taken using lesser methods than a standard promise), and for that reason we avoid promising. There are ways to annul promises: one must go to someone who knows the rules of such annulments (so go to your rabbi!), and he will determine whether it can be annulled. In brief, a promise can often be annulled if a circumstance has since arisen that was not foreseen at the time and that, had it been foreseen, would have meant the promise wouldn't have been taken.

  • At the time I made the promise I fore saw the potential of not being able to afford it. That is why when I made the promise I said "as long as I can afford it". I did that thinking that if I got to a difficult point financially speaking, that I would be absolved of the promise. Am I incorrect on that?
    – MIchael
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 17:29
  • @MIchael, consult your rabbi.
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 21:07
  • Moreover, you can't annul your own promises even if you know they can be annulled. You need another person to do it.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 3:48

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