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Be'er Hagolah at the end of Yoreh Deah 334 says that one of the things that are considered Cherem D'Rabeinu Gersom is not to embarrass a Baal Teshuva regarding his previous lifestyle.

Yet when you look in Bava Metzia 58b the Gemara counts it as Onaas Devarim.

Why then was there a need for this Cherem?

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As I heard Rav Schacter say, many of the cherems of Rabbenu Gershom are already forbidden deOraysa. For example, to divorce a woman against her will is a betrayal that he cast as deOraysa of onaas devarim. (in this shiur, at 5:50 mark and on for a while). But, a cherem is an expression of the wish that the person should die because of this sin.

So, it is a chizuk of an existing prohibition, adding teeth to the issur.

  • Claiming that it is onaat devarim seems quite weak. Marriage is a contract that imposes restrictions upon both parties. If I wish to end a business contract, and the other parties feelings would be hurt, am I required to suffer monetarily or otherwise? Furthermore, according to many authorities onaat devarim is only where you specifically mean to hurt someone. Clearly not every divorce is included in this category. – mevaqesh Nov 9 '17 at 1:21
  • "A cherem is an expression of the wish that the person should die because of this sin." Could you say more? Who wishes who should die? Is the death supposed to happen at G-d's hands kv yachl? ..And what about in the case of cherems on things that are not otherwise sins (such as others of Rabbeinu Gershom)? – SAH Aug 7 '18 at 5:07

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