This article discusses the Kol Nidre prayer, which is recited at the beginning of the evening service of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). As such, it begins by explaining the biblical injunctions against vows, and then delves into early rabbinical laws for the absolution of vows in early rabbinic and Talmudic times as vows had become quite prevalent despite their prohibition in the bible. Subsequently, the author provides translations of both the Aramaic and Hebrew versions of the Kol Nidre prayer, and in the main section of the paper, he discusses the debate surrounding the prayer's origins and purposes. According to Davidson, it is safe to conclude that the prayer is merely a plain legal formula for the absolution of vows. Finally, the author concludes by discussing historic Jewish opposition to the recitation of the prayer.