Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jewish Excommunication

I'll update this with more links as I find them:

Here's an overview:



Here's a look at the excommunication of Mordecai Kaplan:


Here's a site examining Shulchan Aruch (Yorah De'ah 334) on the subject of excommunication:


Here's an interesting quote by Novak:

"In Scripture, herem has the absolute sense of berit; indeed, it could be considered the negative of a berit.  E.g., 'You shall surely destroy [tahreem] them; you shall not make a covenant [berit] with them' (Deut. 7:2).  However, in rabbinic usage, herem is often a synonym for shevu'ah (oath)..." (pg. 63 (footnote 117) of The Jewish Social Contract by Novak)

Here's a quote from Jewish Traditions by Eisenberg:

"The first indication of herem in the context of excommunication occurs in the period following the return from the Babylonian exile, when loss of property and separation from the community was mentioned as a penalty to coerce individuals to obey communal authorities (Ezra 10:8)," (pg. 607)

Here's an actual herem from the Spinoza case:

"By decree of the angels and by the command of the holy men, we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn Baruch de Espinoza, with the consent of God, Blessed be He, and with the consent of the entire holy congregation (kahal kadosh], and in front of these holy scrolls with the 613 precepts which are written therein; cursing him with the excommunication with which Joshua banned Jericho (cf. Josh. 6:26) and with the curse with which Elisha cursed the boys (cf. 2 Kings 2:23-24) and with all the castigations which are written in the Law.  Cursed be he by day and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down and cursed be he when he rises up.  Cursed be he when he goes out and cursed be he when he comes in (cf. Deut. 28:19). 'The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.  And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law' (Deut. 29:19-20. 'But you that cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day' (Deut. 4:4).
We warn that no one should communicate with him, neither in writing, nor accord him any favor nor stay with him under the same roof nor within four cubits in his vicinity; nor read any treatise composed or written by him." (Jewish Political Tradition, edited Walzer, Lorberbaum, Zohar)

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