Talk:Herem (censure)

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First two sections[edit]

The first two sections of this article need to be revised. The discussion of modern applicability of the cherem is especially inaccurate and unhelpful. HKT 19:37, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

The Procedure[edit]

Does anyone know the procedure for the Cherem excommunication? I heard it had something to do with black candles (possibly and likely an urban legend) and according to the Exilarch#Income and privileges article, the blowing of the shofar had a part in it. Anyone have any insight? Valley2city 03:35, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps you read that in the books about Harry Potter? It's definitely not true. Nothing with black candles and nothing with a shofar. --Chussid 12:48, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Your thinking of one specific Cherem - the Jerusalem Cherem against teaching Modern Hebrew or European languages and of teaching secular classes and courses in the city. This was performed by Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld and did in fact feature black candles and a shofar. The black candles were a sign of mourning, not spookyness, and the shofar was a figurative call to war against the New Yishuv. The shofar is still used in this regard in ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem calls for protests. This particular structure of doing things is called the Pulsa Dnura or something like that and was invented by none other than the Amram Blau of folk legend. It also features the members of the Beis Din removing the Torah Scrolls from the aaron and pronouncing the curses of Deut. on anyone who breaks the cherem. (talk) 10:46, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

vs. Anathema[edit]

Wouldn't the equivalent of Cherem be closer to someone receiving anathema rather than excommunication in the Catholic Church? Catholics are still urged to fellowship with someone who is excommunicated in hopes of bringing them to repentance, but anathema is a more extreme censure. --User:MsgrCloche 17:49 17 January 2007 (UTC)

If your definition is correct, then yes. Cherem also requires the person in cherem to exhibit signs of mourning, and is largely dependant on the individual in cherem respecting the authority of the court and the institution of cherem. Also, it only lasts 30 days, which the article currently leaves out.Cherem against abstracts or inanimate things goes on forever. (talk) 10:41, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Still in use[edit]

The article says that cherem is no longer in use, but that is not true - it's still in use in cases where a man refuses to grant his wife a divorce. I've also seen it in use in the case of man who got into relationship with a married woman. These days when the courts no longer have secular power, cherem is the only major tool left to the courts to punish someone, or attempt to change their behavior. I think it's quite inaccurate to claim it's not in use anymore. Ariel. 03:43, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

I removed this unsourced material as it is rediculous. Apostates can't be put in cherem as they are already outside the community. "The only type of cherem which still exists in the general Jewish community is the social ban against Jews for Jesus and the other Messianic Judaism groups. Jews of present-day Jewish denominations reject congregating with members of these groups, which mainstream Judaism believes are evangelistic Protestant Christian organizations attempting to convert Jews to Christianity. They are viewed as missionaries who are trying to end Judaism, one person at a time, by converting Jews into Christians. [citation needed]" (talk) 10:39, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Punishment or tool of coercion?[edit]

My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that cherem is intended primarily as a tool of coercion, to get someone to follow the instruction of the courts. It is not intended primarily as a punishment. As such, it is imposed (or not imposed) based more on what the person is doing (or not doing) than what he has done. Could someone clarify this point? (talk) 00:17, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Cherem vs. Excommunication[edit]

It is true, there are major similarities between Cherem and Excommunications, but there are also important differences, and this should likely be pointed out. Many Jews believe that Catholic Church Excommunication is a form of shunning, and that it can be applied to anyone at anytime, when in fact it is anything but. Usually, excommunications are only reserved for major heretics, schismatics, apostates and defilers of sacraments, it is not something you can punish someone with arbitrarily, for example in the case of purely secular crimes such as racism and drug/sex abuse. ADM (talk) 01:17, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

List of 24 Offenses in Talmud -- Incoherent[edit]

Item 22 "engaging in business intercourse with one's divorced wife". If the meaning of "business intercourse" is "a business", then that's what should be written. If what was meant instead was "sexual intercourse", then that should be stated. This needs to be clarified! --Contrablue (talk) 20:57, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Post-englightenment examples[edit]

"The cherem has also been invoked in recent years against Neturei Karta, the extreme anti-zionist etc."

Not only did the author of this seem to get bored of writing the sentence, a google search reveals that there was merely a proposal for such measures in the form of a speech by Tel Aviv's Chief Rabbi. So for now I'll delete this, but perhaps the invokation of the measures warrants a (better written) mention in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:14, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Herem also used to mean holy war?[edit]

Several sources that discuss holy war, including War in the Hebrew Bible: a study in the ethics of violence, by Susan Niditch (pp 28ff) use the word herem to mean "war of extermination". I'm wondering if it would be helpful to readers to add a new section in this article explaining that meaning, which appears to have fairly significant usage. --Noleander (talk) 22:22, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

See also Anathema#Interpretation. --Noleander (talk) 20:16, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Never mind, I found mention of it in this article. I added a sub-section header so other readers can find the info more readily. --Noleander (talk) 21:42, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Merge Herem into this article[edit]

Should Herem be merged into Cherem? -- Avi (talk) 00:06, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Support I believe it is very clear that the fork of Herem from Cherem was based at best on a misunderstanding of Biblical hebrew. The word itself, חרם is already used in the Torah to refer to property dispositions (see Leviticus 27:21 and Leviticus 27:28 for two example). The Torah also uses the word to refer to the disposition of battle spoils, but that is no reason for it to be its own article. It should be a subsection here. -- Avi (talk) 16:40, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Suppport. I agree it makes no sense to have two articles about the same word. The two different spellings (Herem vs Cherem) of a single word חרם make no sense and have no basis in the sources. Support the merge. Marokwitz (talk) 19:22, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Well, I am the creator of the Herem article. I don't understand what my misunderstanding is. Spelling is not the issue - but the scholarship I've seen on the biblical word overwhelmingly uses the "h". The Cherem article starts with Cherem is the highest ecclesiastical censure in the Jewish community. It is the total exclusion of a person from the Jewish community. That seems like a different subject matter to me. Certainly, what happens to Achan comes close to this, but the article goes on to discuss the use in the Talmud, and how it develops into an ecclesiastical censure. Even when this article has a paragraph on the Hebrew Bible, it says, The Talmudic form of cherem must be distinguished from that described in the Tanakh in the time of Joshua and the early Hebrew monarchy, which was the practice of consecration by total annihilation Well, if it must be distinguished, that's what having two articles does. Anyway, I don't know what, if anything is lying below the surface of this proposal, but I can't see what the problem is. StAnselm (talk) 20:30, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

חרם is a single word. The meaning of this word may have evolved with time. The use of two different spellings for the same word is nonsensical. Why do you object to having a single article which overviews all the meanings of the word in different eras? Would it be too long? Marokwitz (talk) 20:54, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
No, it's not the length. What made me write the article herem in the first place was the defined scope of the cherem article. I actually started the article under the title Cherem (Hebrew Bible), but when I saw how overwhelming the practice to use "herem" was, I asked for it to be moved. (Actually, I listed it under uncontroversial moves, but maybe that wasn't the case.) I guess it's the same principle that there are different articles on Menorah (Temple) and Menorah (Hanukkah) - there it's clearly not the number of branches there that's at issue. StAnselm (talk) 21:05, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Oppose Per my above response to the fork issue. But also, herem isn't just in the Tanakh and therefore in Judaism, it's also in the Christian Old Testament. StAnselm (talk) 00:00, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

But not as חרם nor as herem but as an English, or possibly Latin, word. -- Avi (talk) 00:05, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
But the scholarship (Hewish, Christian and agnostic) is overwhelmingly in favour of discussing it under the term herem. It's a bit like chesed in this reagrd - because it's so hard to translate, the consensus is to discuss it untranslated, but still transliterated. Hence, herem. For example, the first reference in the article: J. P. U. Lilley, "Understanding the herem," Tyndale Bulletin 44 [1993] 171-173. Let's see what else there is:
  • Monroe, Lauren. "Israelite, Moabite and Sabaean war-hērem traditions and the forging of national identity: reconsidering the Sabaean text RES 3945 in light of biblical and Moabite evidence," Vetus Testamentum, 57 no 3 2007, p 318-341.
  • Wiley, Henriette L. "The war hērem as martial ritual service and sacrifice," in Proceedings - Eastern Great Lakes and Midwest Biblical Societies, 25 2005, p 69-76.
  • Gangloff, Frédéric. "Joshua 6: Holy war or extermination by divine command (herem)," Theological Review, 25 no 1 Ap 2004, p 3-23.
  • Hoffman, Yair. "The Deuteronomistic Concept of the Herem," Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 111 no 2 1999, p 196-210.
etc., etc. StAnselm (talk) 06:17, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Please assume good faith. StAnselm (talk) 06:17, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
It's not a POV fork, just an unnecessary split. Marokwitz (talk) 07:32, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Not yet: coming from StAnselm's merge-close request, my answer would be consensus has not gelled yet and close is not ready. There is a clear distinction between the topics and thoughts of the two articles; but they could also be merged for ease of cross-reference as well (just offhand see Jehoiada). Since StAnselm seems to be good at locating sources, the next task might be to determine what sources say when they discuss both concepts, as to whether they consider them one topic or two. JJB 01:11, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Looking at the sources is a good idea. My recollection from the sources is that sources use the word one way or the other, but I don't recall any source discussing both meanings at once. In a dictionary, both meanings would be in under a single word. But WP is not a dictionary, so the question is: how should WP treat one word that has two very distinct meanings? Certainly this issue has come up before, maybe there is a WP style guideline on it? --Noleander (talk) 01:16, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Maybe it's my distinct editing philosophy, but I hadn't seen Jehoiada before, and to my mind, that's an article begging to be split. You can't stick templates and succession boxes there if they only apply to one of the people. Anyway, that's off topic, I suppose. StAnselm (talk) 01:50, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Distinct concepts deserve different articles. Ecclesiastical censure isn't extermination. We could have a split between "Herem" and "Herem (whatever word would best describe this article)" but putting the two together could get a little confusing. Sol (talk) 15:18, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I looked into the "how does WP treat a word that has two different meanings" situation, and it looks like the convention is that the two meanings are not included in one article, but instead there are two articles, and then disambiguation links are provided at the top of each article. For example: "Herem (war)" and "Herem (excommunication)". If I am mistaken, maybe someone can provide some counter-examples of WP articles that have two distinct meanings both described in one article? --Noleander (talk) 15:44, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

There are three articles now, all on same Hebrew word[edit]

Note that the third article Chromim turns up not a single Google books hit for "Chromim" - so what is the correct English term?

The title of an article should generally use the version of the name of the subject which is most common in the English language, as you would find it in reliable sources

In ictu oculi (talk) 02:56, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

he.wikipedia gets round this with the last of the three by putting (to the priest) in brackets. The trouble is with Herem (war) and Herem (excommunication) and Herem (gift to a kohen) that these are all ultimately forks of the same Torah concept devotion (of an object or thing by giving or destruction to God). Not exactly an easy one to find English for... :( In ictu oculi (talk) 07:31, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

I have no problem with the existence of all three articles - I don't see how they are POV forks. I think Herem needs to stay where it is, as that's the term used in (English) literature on the subject - see the references at Talk:Cherem#Merge Herem into this article. I'm agnostic about Cherem and Chromim, except that they are evidently discussing different things. There are some hatnotes to be fixed up, I believe. StAnselm (talk) 06:32, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
The three articles should be merged since it is the same word. Based on comment by the creator, "Chromim" Hebrew: חרמים‎ is probably the plural form of "Cherem" although I think it is spelled incorrectly. Not clear why there are articles for alternate spellings and the plural form, "Cherem", "Herem" and "Chromim". Marokwitz (talk) 06:38, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes all three are the same word, and yes the third is just the plural form, misspelled. All 3 take the Exodus verses about "devoting" (destroying) an item to God as the starting point. A single article with 3 sections would make more sense. What that item should be called in English is a second question. In ictu oculi (talk) 09:58, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, a single merged article with the name "Herem" containing information on all the different interpretations would be fine. "Cherem" should be a redirect to "Herem". Only if the article becomes too long, we should consider splitting to sub-articles, using the brackets naming style. Marokwitz (talk) 10:26, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Comment The merger of Herem into Cherem was discussed above, and there was certainly no consensus to merge. So, while consensus can change, we would need some new people (though I realise In ictu oculi is one) and some new arguments. But most importantly, Wikipedia articles are about things, not about words. We're an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. So we don't need to merge the articles because they are all derived from the same word, we should keep them separate because they are about different things. StAnselm (talk) 22:04, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No consensus to move based on the related discussions which had comments. Probably best for all 3 to have the same outcome. If these are duplicate articles, then a merge and/or redirects is the correct solution and not a rename. Vegaswikian (talk) 03:48, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Cheremexcommunication (Judaism) – per WP:EN, and to avoid duplication of 3 different articles with 3 diff spellings of the same Hebrew noun. In ictu oculi (talk) 18:19, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Merge proposal[edit]

Then the better proposal would be a merger of Herem (academic title with limited use in Old Testament commentaries) and Hromim (a made up word which only exists on Google Books as the instrumental case of the Croatian adjective hromi, "lame"), and the third word Cherem "excommunication." The three applications of the same principle "devotion" are evidently not different things. In ictu oculi (talk) 08:24, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Oppose for the same reasons as the last three times. StAnselm (talk) 08:50, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Strong Oppose. Please stop wasting everyone's time. Also "hromim" is not at all a made up word. It's the plural of herem. But since it isn't being used any more, your raising it is yet another time waster in your edit war on articles about rabbinic concepts. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 23:49, 10 December 2011 (UTC)


Note: This same text has been posted on Talk:Herem (war or property) and Talk:Herem (priestly gift). See also reply at first of those In ictu oculi (talk) 03:52, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

    1. (diff | hist) . . Herem (priestly gift)‎; 20:18 . . (+27) . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎
    2. (diff | hist) . . Herem (war or property)‎; 20:17 . . (+24) . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎
    3. (diff | hist) . . Herem (censure)‎; 20:16 . . (+33) . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎
    4. (diff | hist) . . Herem‎; 20:12 . . (+79) . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎
    5. (Move log); 20:09 . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎ moved Talk:Hromim to Talk:Herem (priestly gift) (Per discussion on Talk:Hromim.)
    6. (Move log); 20:09 . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎ moved Hromim to Herem (priestly gift) (Per discussion on Talk:Hromim.)
    7. (Move log); 20:09 . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎ moved Talk:Herem to Talk:Herem (war or property) (Per discussion on Talk:Hromim.)
    8. (Move log); 20:09 . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎ moved Herem to Herem (war or property) (Per discussion on Talk:Hromim.)
    9. (Move log); 20:07 . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎ moved Talk:Cherem to Talk:Herem (censure) (Per discussion on Talk:Hromim.)
    10. (Move log); 20:07 . . Lisa (talk | contribs)‎ moved Cherem to Herem (censure) (Per discussion on Talk:Hromim.)
It might have been better if these moves had been proposed using WP:RM. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:50, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
And yet, that wasn't necessary. It was discussed here on the talk page, and a consensus was reached. Stop wikilawyering. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 23:48, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
There was discussion at Talk:Herem (priestly gift), and WT:JUDAISM also mentioned the subject. There was no reason to seek input from outside WikiProject Judaism, and Lisa was justified and correct in making the moves she did. In addition, there is a saying that says: do not wave your fist after the fight. Debresser (talk) 15:57, 10 December 2011 (UTC)