On the riddle of Kol Nidrei
פרופ' אביגדור שנאן
On the Jewish start-up of cancellation of vows
One of the focal points of Yom Kippur is the well-known proclamation said at the start of the holiday, known for opening with the words “All my vows”. It is in Aramaic, and it declares that all the vows and oaths of the past year (or even of the year to come) are null and void, and have no validity. The lecture examines the history of this pronouncement over more than a thousand years, and the incarnations of its form, and also points to the historical contexts in which this proclamation was used by the different haters of Israel to defame the people of Israel, saying their promises and oaths were not to be believed.
Prof. Avigdor Shinan taught for many years in the Department of Hebrew Literature at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the academic adviser to Beit Avi Chai. His main field of research is the literature of legend and midrash.