Tonight, Jews all over the world observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The service that begins Yom Kippur is Kol Nidrei.It heralds 25 hours of prayer and fasting to atone for the individual’s sins of the past year.
The congregation chants a solemn prayer of the same name in Aramaic: “All vows, and prohibitions, and oaths, and consecrations, and konams and konasi and any synonymous terms, that we may vow, or swear, or consecrate, or prohibit upon ourselves, •from the previous Day of Atonement until this Day of Atonement and …• ♦from this Day of Atonement until the [next] Day of Atonement that will come for our benefit.♦ Regarding all of them, we repudiate them. All of them are undone, abandoned, cancelled, null and void, not in force, and not in effect. Our vows are no longer vows, and our prohibitions are no longer prohibitions, and our oaths are no longer oaths. “
Rabbis have always pointed out that the dispensation from vows in Kol Nidrei refers only to those an individual voluntarily assumes for himself alone and in which no other persons or their interests are involved. According to Jewish doctrine, the sole purpose of this prayer is to give protection from divine punishment in case of violation of the vow.
This stirring version is sung by Rabbi Eliyahou Elbaz of Meknes, Morocco.
Wishing all our readers who are observing Yom Kippur חתימה טובה and well over the fast.