Kol Nidre and ‘No New Taxes’


Let’s say you’re a candidate who makes at the following pledge: No new taxes. But then, once you’re in government (a la a certain ex-president) you maybe wish you hadn’t undertaken such a vow. What are you to do?

Drawing on the Erev Yom Kippur liturgy, a half dozen Connecticut rabbis are prepared to release any such pledge-takers of their vows.

The New Haven Independent has the story:


As Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur approach, a group of local rabbis offered an election-season break to candidates for public office: Permission to break a no-new-taxes vow.

The permission came into the form of a rabbinic decree issued Wednesday by a “beit dein”—New Haven-area rabbis meeting as a court to make a legal decision under religious law. They issued the decree in the days leading up to the “Days of Awe,” beginning at sundown Sunday with Rosh Hashanah. (Technically three rabbis served as the rabbinic court, and three others endorsed the decree. They’re listed at the bottom of this story.)

Their decree follows the form of a the “Kol Nidre” annulment of vows traditionally offered at the annual Yom Kippur evening service. (Click here to read the text in Hebrew and in English.)

“All vows, renunciations, bans, oaths, formulas of obligation, pledges, and promises that were made by members of the House of Representatives or the Senate and other public officials, lawmakers, city officials and candidates for office in the United States of America before this Yom Kippur 5773 (17 September 2012), whether in writing or orally, to not raise taxes or impose new taxes, all are undone, repealed, cancelled, voided, annulled, and released, and regarded as neither valid nor binding by our community,” decree reads in part.

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