In 2011, a member of the Amsterdam Portuguese-Jewish congregation asked for a reconsideration of the ban, with the hope that it would finally be lifted. (It seems to happen periodically that someone, somewhere, demands the ban to be revoked — the former Israeli Prime Minister David ben Gurion did so in 1953.). Apparently the request was denied.

I understand the debate between allowing non believes into a Minian is still indisputable, but surely there are no exaggerated steps to excommunicate (חרם) them by today’s standards.

I couldn’t find any arguments for why the request was denied, and so I am asking it here?

  • Can you provide an argument why it should be granted?
    – Double AA
    Feb 11, 2021 at 15:29
  • I recall vaguely that rabbi Herzog (2nd chief rabbi of Israel) has a teshuvah related to this. His conclusion being that the cherem was over once he died. If I can find it I’ll post as an answer.
    – mroll
    Feb 12, 2021 at 0:07
  • @mroll that would be great Feb 12, 2021 at 18:41
  • @Double AA My argument will be: We live in an age in which we don’t exaggerate to excommunicate current Jews whom are non believersand preachers of Anti Judaism philosophy. Through them, including Spinoza many non believers (who were born this way), get to learn about Judaism Feb 12, 2021 at 20:40
  • @IsaacBrenig That's a reason to not excommunicate current people. Doesn't seem too relevant to your question. The ban on Spinoza isn't harming anyone. Why touch it? You have provided no reason.
    – Double AA
    Feb 12, 2021 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


The request was denied because nothing has changed. The theological views espoused by Spinoza are still contrary to normative Judaism. The fact that his works are widely read and praised even among many Jews is a tribute to freedom of expression, but not a basis for rabbis to reverse their condemnation of them.

  • 1
    Is that the reason why they didn't want to lift the ban, or is it why you think it shouldn't be lifted? The question seems to be interested in the former.
    – b a
    Feb 11, 2021 at 12:35
  • 3
    "Rabbi Toledano went on: "The moment we rescind the cherem, even if we could, it would imply that we share his heretic views…" in thejc.com/judaism/features/… Feb 11, 2021 at 14:38

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