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Nedarim, 23

NEDARIM 23 (10 Av) - dedicated by Mrs. G. Turkel (Rabbi Kornfeld's grandmother) to the memory of her husband, Reb Yisrael Shimon (Isi) ben Shlomo ha'Levi Turkel. Reb Yisrael Turkel loved Torah and supported it with his last breath. He passed away on 10 Av, 5780.


QUESTION: The Gemara relates that a certain man prohibited his wife from going up to Yerushalayim for the Regel. She violated his word, and he came before Rebbi Yosi to have his Neder annulled.

The Rishonim point out that Rebbi Yosi lived after the Churban of the Beis ha'Mikdash. Why, then, did this woman want to go to ascend to Yerushalayim for the festival?


(a) The ROSH and SHITAH MEKUBETZES write that even after the Churban there has remained a Jewish community in Yerushalayim, and the Talmidei Chachamim would lecture before and during each festival about the Halachos of the festival (like the "Shabsa d'Rigla" mentioned in Berachos 17b and 30a and elsewhere). That is why people would ascend to Yerushalayim at the time of the festival. The men would come to hear the Derashos and ask their Halachic questions, and the women would come to see the glory of the Torah. See also MAHARATZ CHIYUS here.

(b) The Girsa in the Tosefta (Nedarim 5:1) is that the person made a Neder prohibiting his wife "from ascending to *Yerushalayim*." This implies that she only wanted to go up to Yerushalayim, because of the city's great Kedushah (as the Mishnah discusses in Kesuvos 110b), and she was not going specifically for the festival.

(c) RAV HAI GA'ON writes that it was a meritorious practice in his day to ascend to Yerushalayim at the time of the festivals. (See a full summary of the sources for such a practice in IR HA'KODESH V'HA'MIKDASH of RAV YECHIEL MICHAL TUKACHINSKY zt'l.)


OPINIONS: The Gemara explains the Mishnah as saying that a person may make a condition on Rosh Hashanah (or Yom Kipur) that all Nedarim that he makes in the coming year should be null and void. If the person makes a Neder during the year without remembering his stipulation, then the Neder does not take effect.

Is this connected to our practice of reciting "Kol Nidrei" on Yom Kipur eve?

(a) The RAN in the name of RABEINU TAM writes that this is indeed why we say Kol Nidrei. Therefore, it is proper to say Kol Nidrei in the future tense and not in the past tense, since we are not annulling the past year's Nedarim but the coming year's Nedarim.

(b) The ROSH (3:5) writes that the purpose of Kol Nidrei is to annul Nedarim made during the previous year. He proves this from the fact that we say it three times, just like a Chacham says "Mutar Lach" three times when annulling a Neder, and from the fact that it is followed by the recitation of the verse, "v'Nislach l'Chol Adas Bnei Yisrael..." -- "May it be forgiven for the entire congregation of the people of Israel...," which implies that we are pardoning the transgressions of the past.

The Rosh asks, though, how can we be Matir Nedarim in such a manner? First, Hataras Nedarim requires a Beis Din of three men. Second, Hataras Nedarim requires a Pesach! The Rosh answers that since everyone says Kol Nidrei quietly with the Chazan, they all serve as a Beis Din of three men (Hedyotos) to be Matir each other's Nedarim. It is not necessary to find a Pesach, beause it is assumed that everyone regrets (Charatah) the Nedarim that they made.

Some explain that this procedure of Hataras Nedarim was chosen to commence the services of the holiest day of the year in order to arouse a spirit of repentance. Teshuvah is unique in that it retroactively uproots the sins of one's past. The only other time that something done in the past can be uprooted retroactively is Hataras Nedarim. Therefore, it is appropriate to begin the day of repentance with such a declaration.

(c) The ME'IRI writes that Kol Nidrei does not serve to be Matir normal Nedarim. Rather, it serves to be Matir the Nedarim and Charamim made by the community, the Tzibur, as a whole. The removal of such Nedarim does not require the Hatarah of a Chacham or Beis Din, nor does it require Charatah. That is why it may be done in such a manner as Kol Nidrei.

(d) The NIMUKEI YOSEF explains that Kol Nidrei is not a Heter Nedarim for either the past or the future. Rather, it is simply a prayer to Hashem that He not punish us for the past Nedarim that we made and transgressed.

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