Excommunication writ against Baruch Spinoza (July 27, 1656//6th of Av 5416)
The Senhores [gentlemen] of the ma'amad [lay governing board of the Portuguese-Jewish community of Amsterdam] made it known to you that they have been aware for some time of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Spinoza, and that they have endeavored by various means and promises to turn him from his evil ways. But being unable to effect any remedy, and, on the contrary, each day receiving more information about the abominable heresies that he practiced and taught, and about the monstrous acts that he performed, and having many trustworthy witnesses who have reported and testified on all of this in the presence of the said Spinoza, who has been found guilty; after all of this has been examined in the presence of the rabbis, they [the members of the ma'amad] have decided, with the rabbis' consent, that the said Spinoza should be banned and separated from the Nation of Israel, as they now put him under cheirem with the following cheirem:
With the judgment of the angels and with that of the righteous, we put under cheirem, ostracize, and curse and damn Baruch de Spinoza, with the consent of God, Blessed be He, and with the consent of this entire holy congregation, before these holy scrolls, with the 613 commandments that are written in them, with the cheirem that Joshua put upon Jericho, with the curse with which Elisha cursed the youths, and with all the curses that are written in the Torah. Cursed be he by day, and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down, and cursed be he when he rises up; cursed be he when he goes out, and cursed be he when he comes in. The Lord will not forgive him; the fury and zeal of the Lord will burn against this man, and bring upon him all the curses that are written in this book of Torah. And may the Lord erase his name from under the heavens. Any may the Lord separate him for injury from all of the tribes of Israel, with all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of Torah.
But you who cleave to the Lord your God, all of you are alive this day.
We order that nobody should communicate with him orally or in writing, nor show him any favor, nor be with him under the same roof, nor come within four cubits of him, nor read anything composed or written by him.