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Moed Katan 27b:

when Rav Hamnuna once happened to come to a place called Darumata he heard the sound of a shofar announcing that a person had died in the town. When he saw some people doing work he said to them: Let these people be under an excommunication. Is there not a dead person in town? They said to him: There are separate groups in the town, each one responsible for its own dead. Knowing that the deceased was not from our group, we continued our work. He said to them: If so, it is permitted to you, and he revoked his excommunication.

How come Rav Hamnuna pronounced a sentence of excommunication before hearing out all the circumstances?

Cf. Yevamot 121a where Rav wants to excommunicate Rav Sheila immediately, but Shmuel demands an investigation.

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  • There’s a Gemara in Nedarim 7B that says if one hears someone say the name of Hashem in vain then they just put that person in nidui. If they don’t then they themselves deserve to be put in nidui. I recall hearing, don’t recall where, that when one sees someone else doing something wrong, if they don’t react then it will adversely affect their sub conscience. By putting the person in nidui that’s considered enough of a reaction to negate any negative affects on him himself. Perhaps that’s why these Amoraim were so quick, to immediately avoid any negative effects on themselves and fix it after.
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 6 at 3:03
  • Excommunication is really easy to undo. Somewhat parallel, in the US you can be arrested before having a complete trial.
    – Double AA
    Jul 6 at 12:15
  • @DoubleAA: Rav is grateful to Shmuel for keeping him from needlessly excommunicating Rav Sheila.
    – sds
    Jul 6 at 13:05
  • Surely no one likes accidentally spending a night in local jail
    – Double AA
    Jul 6 at 13:19
  • Doesn't "ליהוו הנך אנשי בשמתא" mean that they will be in נידוי, not that they are in נידוי? In which case, he expressed an opinion about what should happen to them but did not actually issue a formal decree. Had he actually issued a ban, wouldn't it be a case of המנדה מי שאינו חייב נידוי, the consequence of which would be that he is placed under נידוי (which does not seem to be suggested)? Jul 6 at 18:44

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