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hataras nedarim for learning Torah

Rabbi David SperlingTevet 10, 5773
357
Question
Would there be a chiyuv of hataras nedarim for a person that started daf yomi and stopped after a while. while this sounds funny, what about if a person used to shukkle while davening and now wants to stop? thank you very much
Answer
Shalom, The Gemara (Nedarim 8a) teaches us that when a person declares that they will learn a certain portion of Torah, it is an automatic oath (neder) even if they did not use the standard formula used for taking oaths. This is ruled in the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah, 213,2, and 203,6 in the Shach). So if you did not clearly state that you were not making an oath, by saying "bli neder" ["this is not an oath"] etc, it would seem that just by saying something like "I'm going to learn Daf Yomi this cycle" would obligate you as an oath. However, because you did not use the formula of an oath's wording, together with the fact that (I assume) you did not intend to take a formal oath, there is room for a leniency in this case. Rav S.Z. Auerbach zt"l writes (Minchat Shlomo 1, 91:20) that the declaration made when annulling vows before Rosh HaShana, or Kol Nidray on Yom Kippur eve, can be used in just such a case to prevent an oath from taking effect. So, based on this, you do not need to do hatarat nedarim (annullment of vows). But may I be permitted to point out two things ? Firstly, I hope we can learn from here to be more careful in the future and always make a point of saying "bli neder" when taking upon ourselves new Torah projects. Secondly - are you sure you want to stop learning the Daf Yomi? One should always examine closely one's motives for lessening one's Torah commitment. The question of shocheling, or swaying during prayer, is based on the verse (Psalms 35:10), "All of my limbs shall proclaim: Who is like You...". It is quoted in the Shuchan Aruch (Orech Haim 48,1) - though different rabbis have different views on which parts of the service one should shochel for. If you did not take an oath to shochel, you do not need to do hatarat nedarim. Blessings.
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