Question:

I am spending R”H and Y”K in a small out-of-town community in America that does have a Rabbi but he is more of the “ceremonial” type, not a posek. I know that I need to do hataras nedarim before R”H but I was wondering if you could give me a very concise guide as to how so that I can make sure I do it properly. For instance – Does it matter who the three people you say it in front of are? Can they be family? Do they have to be shomer shabbos? Etc. That plus general guidelines / step-by-step.

Thank you very much.

Answer:

 In short, you can say the normal text of Hataras Nedarim in front of any three adult men, (preferably that he also is old enough to have facial hair), the three man can also be relatives, however they have to be Shomer Shabbos.

Before saying Hataras Nedarim we have to know what we are doing. It is not a prayer, rather a declaration that we do not want any of the nedarim that we might have made during the year to be valid. Being that it is a declaration, the person saying it has to understand what he is doing. The declaration may be said in any language that the person understands, the main thing is that they understand what they are saying.  If the person remembers any specific neder that he made, he should tell it to one of the three men, and let him know that he specifically want to include that neder in the hatorah. Then the three men will say that the nedarim are null and void. Then the man will make a declaration that from now on if he will say or do anything that would be considered a neder without realizing it, that it should not be considered a neder. 

Sources:

Y:D 228-1, Mateh Efrayim 581-49, Shut Shevet Halevi 4-94,  

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