Kol Nidrei / All the Vows

What promises have you made that you later regretted? The first prayer of Yom Kippur and possibly the most well-known, in Kol Nidrei we ask to be free of all the commitments we take upon ourselves. The prayer looks forward to the coming year and asks that we not be held to account for all the promises and vows that we make.

כָּל נִדְרֵי וֶאֱסָרֵי וּשְׁבוּעֵי וַחֲרָמֵי וְקוֹנָמֵי וְכִנּוּיֵי. וְקִנוּסֵי דִּנְדַֽרְנָא. וּדְאִשְׁתַּבַּֽעְנָא. וּדְאַחֲרִימְנָא. וּדְאָסַֽרְנָא עַל נַפְשָׁתָֽנָא. מִיּוֹם כִּפּוּרִים זֶה עַד יוֹם כִּפּוּרִים הַבָּא עָלֵֽינוּ לְטוֹבָה. בְּכֻלְּהוֹן אִחֲרַֽטְנָא בְהוֹן. כֻּלְּהוֹן יְהוֹן שָׁרָן. שְׁבִיקִין, שְׁבִיתִין, בְּטֵלִין וּמְבֻטָּלִין, לָא שְׁרִירִין וְלָא קַיָּמִין: נִדְרָֽנָא לָא נִדְרֵי. וֶאֱסָרָֽנָא לָא אֱסָרֵי. וּשְׁבוּעָתָֽנָא לָא שְׁבוּעוֹת:

All vows, and items we have consecrated to the Temple, and vows issued with the expression “konum" (a way of expressing a vow), and vows which are abbreviated, and vows issued with the expression “kanos” (another way of expressing a vow) that we have vowed, and sworn, and dedicated, and made forbidden upon ourselves; from this Yom Kippur until next Yom Kippur— may it come to us at a good time— We regret having made them; may they all be permitted, forgiven, eradicted and nullified, and may they not be valid or exist any longer. Our vows shall no longer be vows, and our prohibitions shall no longer be prohibited, and our oaths are no longer oaths.

Reflecting

  • What are three promises you made this past year, and to whom did you make them? To others? Yourself?

  • Which promises have you broken this year? Have you expressed regret or apology?

  • Why do you think you were not able to fulfill them?

  • What, or who, do you need this coming year to help you follow through?