Wikipedia article on cherem lists the Talmudic rules on what offenses qualified for niddui.

However, it doesn't seem to actually list anything specific (aside from monetary issues that caused repeated niddui) which would lead to indefinite-period official cherem imposed on a person.

Was/is there a codified set of rules of what does and does not rise to the level of cherem? (specifically, after 600CE)?

Or was it pretty much up to individual Rabbis based on their personal judgement of what was good for their specific community?

  • Yoreh deah 330-something i think
    – Double AA
    Sep 19, 2014 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


The rules for what does rise to the level of cherem can be found in Rambam's Mishne Torah (Talmud Torah 6:14) - there are 24 of them, the first five being

A ban of ostracism is imposed upon a person - either man or woman - for [the following] 24 reasons:

  • a) a person who disgraces a sage, even after his passing;
  • b) a person who embarrasses a messenger of a court;
  • c) a person who calls a colleague a slave;
  • d) a person who was ordered [to appear before] a court at a specific time and did not come;
  • e) a person who treats even one point of Rabbinic law with disrespect; needless to say, this applies regarding [matters of] Torah law;
  • etc.

Your question title asks about "the rules for declaring someone cherem" - those can be found in Talmud Torah 7:2 and following.

If you are asking about the difference between nidui and cherem, the Rambam explains (in 7:6) that a nidui that gets extended twice after 2 periods of 30 days where the person doesn't appear to be released is declared a cherem. See also Moed Katan 16a.

See also Shulkhan Aruch YD 334

  • I'm not sure that this answers the question. Rambam's list of 24 that you quote is for niddui (it's also listed in the Wikipedia article linked in the OP.) The OP seems to be asking for offences that resulted in cherem specifically, rather than niddui.
    – Joel K
    Jul 11, 2018 at 8:33
  • @JoelK but isn't cherem a nidui that gets extended twice after 2 periods of 30 days where the person doesn't appear to be released of nidui? (see 7:6) If that is the question, I will further edit
    – mbloch
    Jul 11, 2018 at 8:46
  • You are in all likelihood correct (I have not learned these laws in any depth). It seems to be from reading the question in conjunction with the linked Wiki article that the OP is assuming that there are specific offences that get cheirem rather than niddui. If the OP’s assumption is incorrect (as you claim) than I would edit the answer to focus on that (assuming you agree with my read of the question).
    – Joel K
    Jul 11, 2018 at 8:51
  • @JoelK thanks - I have done so now - that is also my recollection from learning Moed Katan but maybe someone will correct me
    – mbloch
    Jul 11, 2018 at 8:55

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