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Vows and Oaths
There are vows for actions (to do something), and vows for restraining (not to do something).

From the book by Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem, "The Divine Code," p. 276, in the chapter on "Laws of Vows and Promises," topic 3:1 -

"A Gentile does not have a specific commandment to fulfill any promises or vows he makes, and the Gentiles have not been warned against transgressing their words. In any case, even though they were not commanded regarding this, as a thing which is obligatory according to human intelligence, every person is obligated to keep his word, and how much more so not to lie about the past."

Since it is a logical obligation for Gentiles to fulfill their verbal promises or vows, rather than an actual Divine commandment, how much more so are they not held liable for deciding to stop doing an optional action or restraint which was only repeated in the past but never verbalized as a promise or a vow.

The situations in which this general exemption could become questionable, such that it could be doubtful whether or not the person can decide to stop without concern, depend upon the nature of the action and the intention. If one sets for himself:

- a habitual permissible good deed (e.g. daily prayer), with the intention of going beyond his basic obligations as a way of doing more to serve to G-d, or
- a habitual permissible restraint (e.g. for self-refinement) with the intention of going beyond his basic obligations as a way of doing more to serve to G-d,

then if he later decides to just stop from that higher mode of Divine service that he had firmly established for himself, it may draw the attention of G-d to ask about him, "Why did this person stop from serving Me in that superior way that he had established for himself? Was his reason (or excuse) for stopping really justified?" Once the attention of G-d has been drawn forth to ask this about the person, it may additionally invite closer Divine inspection of the person's other deeds as well (which is something that one should try to avoid).

So if you have a question about whether it's appropriate or no problem to stop an ongoing good deed or self-restraint that you had firmly taken on without any verbal promise or vow, the things you can do are:
(1) think this over in your own mind for a while, with honest self-evaluation (this may reveal the answer to your question);
(2) discuss it with your trusted observant Jewish or Noahide mentor to get an objective opinion;
(3) present the question to an Orthodox Rabbi for his advice.

Messages In This Thread
Vows and Oaths - by bdschuh - 05-15-2008, 02:52 AM
RE: Vows and Oaths - by Director Michael - 07-29-2009, 02:59 PM
RE: Vows and Oaths - by Director Michael - 02-17-2010, 02:10 AM
RE: Vows and Oaths - by Director Michael - 08-29-2015, 09:08 AM
RE: Vows - by Director Michael - 05-20-2008, 09:44 PM
RE: Vows - by rabbiyitz - 05-21-2008, 05:08 AM
Making an Oath - by Finch - 02-16-2010, 02:29 AM
RE: Vows and Oaths - by Director Michael - 08-27-2015, 01:45 PM

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