I know that when a person does something 3 times (some say twice), he has to do it forever.

What if there's a break in between the times?

Say, a person wear Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin once, the next year he does it again, and then 10 years later he does it again. Does he have Chazakah?

  • 2
    Dont be so sure about your first line. At the minimum, many have a custom to recite an annual statement that any acts they perform 3 times ought not be construed as permanently binding. As always, consult your local orthodox rabbi for practical advice.
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 17, 2016 at 21:44
  • @mevaqesh What is this "annual statement" called and when is it recited?
    – SAH
    May 28, 2017 at 6:02

1 Answer 1


As mentionned by @mevaqesh, the nusach of Hatarat Nedarim contains the notion of 3 times " אֵיזו הַנְהָגָה טובָה או אֵיזֶה דָבָר טוב שֶׁנָּהַגְתִּי שָׁלשׁ פְּעָמִים וְלא הִתְנֵיתִי שֶׁיְּהֵא בְּלִי נֶדֶר". It is a protection forward (as the Kol nidre following some opinions is oriented forward).

For hatarat nedarim if someone want to stop a minhag (when he was regarding it for himself as a duty, or his family was) See SA YD 214 . In this siman multiple cases are treated, for instance about allowed things, which someone considered by minhag as prohibited, or optional action which he considered as mandatory. The sources for Halacha are Mishnayot in the 4st chapter of Massechet Pessachim and a Brayta in the second chapter of Nedarim. But all this is for minhagim of a whole community, or region, and switching from one to another, or for family minhagim. But the OP asks also for personal Chumrot, i.e. things which are known as allowed, and someone wants to be stringent, in way to protect itself from prohibited similar things. For this matter, Beit Yosef YD 214, at the end of the siman report in name of the Rashba and Ran that it is more strong than minhag and a simple hatarat nedarim does not be sufficient to cancel the prohibition. We have not yet found the notion of 3 times, one time seems sufficient if he take it as a duty. Poskim said to specify to himself if he make something stringent, to say that it is not a neder and that it is not for ever but for one time. Buy I have found a Mishna which said a similar rule for a positive mitsva that he has to do it forever after the first time. The Mishna in Shekalim says (1, 3) See here and here:

כָּל קָטָן שֶׁהִתְחִיל אָבִיו לִשְׁקוֹל עַל יָדוֹ, שׁוּב אֵינוֹ פּוֹסֵק .‏

That one who had paid "the Half Shekel" for his minor son, cannot stop {and need to pay every year until the son comes of age to pay for himself.}

I don't found the notion of 3 times for nedarim (I edited this as partial answer and not comment because it contains important references concerning the creation of a new duty by making a mitsva or minhag).

For the tefilin of Rabenu Tam, if he hasn't the minhag from family or community, the SA OC 34, 2 and 34, 3 said that it is a Hiddur, not a Mitsva, so if he was thinking that it is a mitsva by mistake, it is not a neder, if he was aware that it is a Hiddur and taked this as a duty for himself, hatarat nedarim doesn't be sufficient, he need Sheelat Chacham to allow the neder. So in your case if he weared RTT not by mistake but as a personal duty, even one time, he need to continue; by mistake, even 20 years, he can stop it.

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