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Today in schul (erev Rosh Hashana) there is a procedure done after hatarat nedarim that seems to release people from cherem.

  1. The beit din's saying in the hatarat nedarim process removes one from cherem so why is this procedure needed?

  2. If someone is really in cherem, can this process remove that?

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The procedure you are mentioning is hatarat nidui from the heavens. That means that if a person got a nidui from above, he can ask 10 men to cancel it. Since among each 10 men there is shechina, when they cancel the nidui, the heavens have to accept this.

This custom is mentioned in this booklet of minhagim, in the end of page 24, more details in footnote 119.

The source is the Gemora in Nedorim 8a:

אמר רב יוסף נידוהו בחלום צריך י' בני אדם להתיר לו

Rav Yosef says, someone who got nidui during a dream, needs 10 men to cancel it

Since we do not remember all our dreams, there is a custom to make this, just in case.

A regular Herem of beis din can not be removed by this way.

  • Can you source your claim regarding what the procedure accomplishes and what it doesn't? – msh210 Sep 29 '14 at 19:43
  • @msh210 I added a source to the body of the answer. – jutky Sep 30 '14 at 6:12

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