Qitzur Shulchan Arukh – 67:4

ד: אִם דַּעְתוֹ לִקְבֹּעַ לוֹ אֵיזֶה לִמּוּד בַּתּוֹרָה אוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת אֵיזֶה מִצְוָה, וְהוּא יָרֵא פֶּן יִתְרַשֵּׁל אַחַר כָּךְ, אוֹ שֶׁהוּא מִתְיָרֵא פֶּן יַסִּיתֵהוּ הַיֵּצֶר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֵיזֶה אִסּוּר אוֹ לְמָנְעוֹ מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת אֵיזֹה מִצְוָה, מֻתָּר לוֹ לִזְרוּזֵי נַפְשֵׁה בְּנֶדֶר אוֹ בִּשְׁבוּעָה, דְאָמַר רַב, מִנַּיִן שֶׁנִּשְׁבָּעִין לְקַיֵּם אֶת הַמִצְוָה לְזָרֵז אֶת עַצְמוֹ אַף- עַל-פִּי שֶׁהוּא מֻשְׁבָּע וְעוֹמֵד מֵהַר סִינַי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי וַאֲקַיֵמָה לִשְׁמֹר מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶךָ. וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם לֹא אָמַר בִּלְשׁוֹן נֶדֶר אוֹ שְׁבוּעָה, אֶלָּא בְּדִבּוּר בְּעָלְמָא, הֲוֵי נֶדֶר וּמְחֻיָּב לְקַיֵּם. וְלָכֵן צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לִזָּהֵר כְּשֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר שֶׁיַעֲשֶׂה אֵיזֶה דְּבַר מִצְוָה, שֶׁיֹּאמַר בְּלִי נֵדֶר. וְטוֹב שֶׁיַרְגִּיל הָאָדָם אֶת עַצְמוֹ כֵּן, אֲפִלּוּ בְּאָמְרוֹ לַעֲֹשוֹת דְּבַר רְשׁוּת, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּשֵׁל, חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, בַּעֲוֹן נְדָרִים

If his intent is to establish for himself some [program of learning] in Torah or to do some mitzvah, and he is afraid that maybe he will falter afterward, or he is afraid the [evil] inclination will lead him astray to do some prohibition or stop him from doing some mitzvah, he is permitted to motivate his soul with a neder or shevu’ah. As Rav said, “Where to se know that one may swear to do a mitvah to motivate himself even though he already was sworn and stood at Mount Sinai? Since it says ‘I swore and I commit to keep Your righteous laws.'”

Even if he dd not say them in the language of a neder or shevu’ah, just mundane speech, it is a neder and he is obligated to fulfill it. Therefore, a person must be careful when he says that he would do any act of mitzvah that he say “without a neder“. It is a good for a person to habituate himself thus, even when he is saying to do something of his own will, so that he shouldn’t stumble, G-d forbid, in the sin of [broken] oaths.

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