Are the following vows (or any related synonyms) annulled by "Kol Nidrei":

Any vows or promises or oath (or any related synonyms) that I said to God? For example, I say, God, I promise to give 20% of my income to you?

Any vows or promises or oath (or any related synonyms) that I said to my friend or relative, who did not impose or compel me to make such a vow? For example, I say, If you shut up, then I will give you a gift.

  • 1
    ninamag, the answer is Kol Nidrei does absolutely nothing.
    – Double AA
    Sep 28, 2017 at 13:40
  • There are those who say that those forced to take an oath like the covers in Spain felt guilty for violating the invalid oath. Sep 28, 2017 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


As explained in Hatarat Nedarim a person should do this as an individual in front of a bais din of three people.

Hatarat Nedarim – Annulling Vows Before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

It is customary to conduct “Hatarat Nedarim” – the formal annulment of vows – before Rosh Hashanah and before Yom Kippur. This declaration is made in the presence of three people that serve as a Bet Din (Rabbinical court). It absolves a person from vows he made and from customs which he accepted upon himself. Preferably, a person should perform Hatarat Nedarim in the presence of ten men, as this kind of Bet Din has more authority than a three-member Bet Din.

As part of the Hatarat Nedarim declaration, a person says that although Halacha requires a person to specify the particular vows which he wishes to annul, he is unable to do so because they are too numerous. The work Derech Ha’haim cites from the Shiboleh Ha’leket (Rav Sidkiya Ben Abraham, Italy, 1230-1300) that this special provision applies only to vows of which a person is unaware. One can earn annulment for these vows by informing the Bet Din that he cannot recall his vows. If, however, a person is aware of a certain vow or custom from which he wishes to absolve himself, then he must specify it when he makes the Hatarat Nedarim declaration.

This is better as it shows that a person has been careful about oaths and would not rely on the general statement.

Kol Nidre

The readiness with which vows were made and the facility with which they were annulled by the scribes gave the Karaites an opportunity to attack the Rabbinites, and forced the Geonim to minimize the power of dispensation. Yehudai Gaon of Sura (760), author of the "Halakot Pesuḳot," went so far as to forbid any study whatsoever of Nedarim, the Talmudic treatise on oaths (Alfasi on Nedarim, end; L. Löw, l.c. p. 363). Thus the "Kol Nidre" was discredited in both of the Babylonian academies and was not accepted by them (S. K. Stern, in "Ḳebuẓat Ḥakamim," ed. Warnheim, 1861), as is affirmed by the geonim Naṭronai (853-856) and Hai Bar Naḥshon (889-896; Müller, "Mafteaḥ," p. 103; Cassel, "Teshubot Geonim Ḳadmonim," p. 9; Zunz, "Ritus," p. 189; Ṭur Oraḥ Ḥayyim, § 619; "Kol Bo," § 68). Amram Gaon in his "Siddur" (l.c.) calls the custom of reciting the "Kol Nidre" a foolish one ("minhag sheṭut"). According to Naṭronai, however, it was customary to recite the formula in various lands of the Jewish dispersion, and it is clear likewise from Amram's "Siddur" (ii. 37a) that the usage was wide-spread as early as his time in Spain. But the geonic practise of not reciting the "Kol Nidre" was long prevalent; it has never been adopted in the Catalonian or in the Algerian ritual (Zunz, l.c. p. 106); and there were always many congregations in lands where the Provençal and Spanish ritual was used which did not recite it ("Orḥot Ḥayyim," p. 105d; comp. also RaN to Ned. 23b, where it is said: "There are some congregations which usually recite the 'Kol Nidre' on the Day of Atonement")

Rabbeinu Tam states that it only effects the future and not the past.

Rabbenu Tam (1100–1171), however, disagrees, and raises many objections to the traditional understanding of Kol Nidrei (Rosh, Yoma 8:28). He insists that Kol Nidrei does not affect the past by annulling previous vows, but rather stipulates that any vow that one will take in the future should not be binding. Indeed, the Talmud (Nedarim 23b) teaches:

And he who desires that none of his vows made during the year shall be valid, let him stand at the beginning of the year and declare, "Every vow which I may make in the future shall be null." [His vows are then invalid,] provided that he remembers this at the time of the vow. But if he remembers, has he not cancelled the declaration and confirmed the vow? ... Raba said: … Here the circumstances are, for example, that one stipulated at the beginning of the year, but does not know in reference to what. Now he vows. Hence, if he remembers [the stipulation] and he declares: "I vow in accordance with my original intention," his vow has no reality. But if he does not declare thus, he has cancelled his stipulation and confirmed his vow.

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