If someone made an oath "I'm not going to eat bread for thirty days" and wants to "cancel" it, he goes to three people and tells them "I didn't know that it would be so hard". They say "OK, it's retroactively permitted".

What happens if he didn't go to those judges, violates the oath, is about to get the punishment, then goes to three people and says "I never would have taken the oath if I would have known that I was going to break it and get punished".

They say "Mutar Lach".

Does he still get punished?

  • 2
    If it was Hafara (s)he would be punished hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?&rid=5681
    – Double AA
    Jul 13 '14 at 19:17
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    @DoubleAA Yes, because it's Mikan U'Lehaba. The question is by a Chacham Jul 13 '14 at 20:10
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    Are you doing hafaras nedarim or hataras nedarim? I forget which is which but one is retroactive and one is from here on out. If it's retroactive you wouldn't be punished; if it's from here on out you would be. Not posting this as an answer because I don't have any sources.
    – DonielF
    Jul 4 '16 at 0:18
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    עקירה is retroactive. It's good 100%
    – kouty
    Mar 31 '17 at 13:37
  • See Tosfos in Gittin 33a ד"ה ואפקעינהו
    – Silver
    Dec 16 '19 at 19:21

Not the same case, but we can regard it similarly.

Nazir 23a

ת"ר (במדבר ל) אישה הפרם וה' יסלח לה באשה שהפר לה בעלה והיא לא ידעה הכתוב מדבר שהיא צריכה כפרה וסליחה

Our Rabbis taught: [In the verse,] Her husband hath made them void,' and the Lord will forgive her, Scripture is speaking of a woman whose husband has declared her [vow] void without her knowledge. [intimating] that she requires atonement and forgiveness.

There is no punishment by Bet Din, neither as a non cancelled nezirut, but the bad intention needs forgiveness.


"I never would have taken the oath if I would have known that I was going to break it and get punished"

I don't think that would be a very good reason to nullify an oath. That is like saying "I never would have taken the oath if I knew I had to keep it". Which is obviously a bad reason. Either because it shows he does not know what an oath is, or nothing new was added.

The real question here is a simple one. The hatara of a chochom is l'mafrei'a. If a person transgresses an oath and subsequently nullifies it (retroactively) does he get punished?

First, we must note, beis din does not punish for a broken neder (the Chinuch explains this is because it can be done without action). So, any punishment would be from Hashem. Since Hashem is the True Judge, we cannot say if there is punishment or not.

It is worthwhile to note that the mefarshim dscuss the case where a husband is meifer his wife's neder without telling her. If she "transgresses" the now-nullfied neder, did she do anything wrong? Perhaps this is the same question.

  • I don't think it's the same question because that's hafarah as opposed to hatarah.
    – Daniel
    Sep 7 '15 at 20:51
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    These are halachot that need a source; otherwise it's merely musings. Jan 6 '16 at 9:52

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