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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Sun, 14 Jul 1996 17:17:43 -0400 Subject: Doing some new good thing 3 times---Is it a Neder or not? [Luntz V24 #60 ]mentions a friend who davened Maariv during Shivah calls for a week and found out she in effect had made a neder to always daven maariv. However based on Yoreh Dayah 214:1 and the Shach, I have 3 heters for her not to see the Maariv as a neder. Since people frequently do "extra good things" I think this is a very relevant matter (are those people making a neder to do the good things forever. For example, does a person who goes to shule for a year to say Kaddish, obligate himself to always go to shule!?) I therefore list the 3 heters and invite discussion HETER 1: The SHACH (Footnote ALEPH) explicitly states that a stringency has a Neder status only if the act was done "as a stringency or as fence". Thus if a person is simply doing something because everyone else is doing it(like davening maariv in a Shivah home) there is no Neder status. HETER 2: Suppose (SHACH) a person always fasts during the 10 days of repentance and then one year there is a brith milah. The person does NOT need a "freeing from the vow" to eat at the brith milah. The reason for this is that although the person did in effect make a Neder not to eat during the 10 days of repentance *it is assumed that he did so according to the way world behaves* ... since people who want to fast don't do so on a Brith this person does not need to free himself of his vow. By analogy a person davening maariv in a house of shivah may have taken a neder but nevertheless does so *according to the way the world behaves*. In this case it is the custom of say women when they are in a house for a religious purpose and everyone else is davening maariv to do so but it is not clear that any obligation occurs outside the shivah house. HETER 3: The Yoreh Dayah explicitly states that "stringency leads to a neder status" only if the person *intended to do it forever*(and I guess if they did three times without intention then it is equivalant to doing it forever). But it appears to me that the woman in question probably had the following thoughts "Oh they are davening maariv; that is a good thing to do; let me try it out also". In other words I perceive her intentions as intentions of trying out and not intentions of doing it permanantly. Let me give another example to clarify this: Suppose a person says to himself: "People in first minyans(on Shabbos) are davening Kriash Shemah on time...I think that is the proper thing to do...let me go this month." Now, even though the person did it as a stringency and did it 3 times it appears to me he is not obligated by neder to always go to the Hashcamah minyan since it is clear that his intention was only to try it out. I admit that if the woman came to the Rabbi and worded her question Well they were davening maariv and I thought that beautiful and thought I would do it" then it appears that she intended it forever (and hence the Pesak that she can't get out of the Neder (see YD there)) however I believe I have a strong argument that her intentions were only to try it out. At any rate I am curious what other people have to say about people who go to Hashcamah three weeks in a row, or say go to shule for a year (to say Kadish) etc. whether they have obligated themselves for life (and if not why not). Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d. ASA rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu