Remove a file from a Git repository without deleting it from the local filesystem

The git rm documentation states:

When --cached is given, the staged content has to match either the tip of the branch or the file on disk, allowing the file to be removed from just the index.

So, for a single file:

git rm --cached file_to_remove.txt

and for a single directory:

git rm --cached -r directory_to_remove

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