Kol Nidre means “all vows,” and this hauntingly beautiful prayer is also a legal ritual, releasing us from all our broken promises from the past year. Once we declare these collective failures nullified, we are able to move into the rest of Yom Kippur together. 

All vows and prohibitions and oaths …

that we may vow or swear or prohibit upon ourselves

from this Yom Kippur until the Yom Kippur that is coming upon us for goodness—

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.

Booklet Section: Seeking Forgiveness