Mentioning the name of foreign deities-Christianity/Islam

Not to mention the name of idols and foreign deities:

Giving it a derogatory name:[1] One is required to help eradicate idolatry and give idols and foreign deities a derogatory name.

Swearing using its name:[2] One who swears in the name of an idol or foreign deity [transgresses a Biblical negative command and] is liable for lashes.

Mentioning the name of an idol:[3] It is forbidden to mention the name of an idol or foreign deity.[4] This applies whether there is a need to mention his name, such as to tell his friend to wait for him by a certain idol, and whether there is no need to do so, and one wants to mention his name in casual conversation.[5] It is permitted to mention the names of idols written in the Torah, such as Kara, Baal, Koreis, Nevo, Haorchim Lagad Shulchan, [Baal Tzafon[6]].[7] [This however only applies to names of idols and deities that were innovated for the sake of the idolatry, and hence connote a foreign god. However common names which have been turned to be used for idolatry, may be mentioned, as the name does not have any godly connotation, and was not given for this purpose.[8] Thus we find that the Gemara mentions the names of festivals of idolatry, as well as the name of Oso Ish and his students.[9]]

Mentioning their festivals:[10] It is permitted to mention the names of their festivals that are called the same names as people, although one may not refer to it in a manner of eminence as do the worshipers. [It is forbidden to mention the name of a festival that is called the name of their idol or deity.]

Poking fun at the idol or deity:[11] It is permitted to make light of idols and foreign deities [and it is permitted to mention their name for this purpose[12]].

 

 

Q&A

May one say the name Jesus or Yeshu?

From the letter of the law it is permitted to recite the name Jesus or Yeshu.[13] It is likewise permitted to write these names, as we find Gedolei Yisrael who wrote these names in their Sefarim.[14] Nevertheless, despite the letter of the law, the custom of all Jewry dating back many generations is to avoid saying these names and rather the term “Oso Ish” or “Yoshka” or “Yoshke Pandre” is used in its stead. One is not Heaven forfend to break this custom.[15]

 

May one say the word Christ?[16]

One is not to use this term as it connotes a Messiah and savior, and according to some even a deity, and so is the custom of all Jewry to not say this term.[17]

 

May one mention the name Mary?[18]

From the letter of the law it is permitted to do so[19], although G-d fearing Jews avoid saying this name [in reference to the mother of Yoshka].

 

May one write the names of idolatry and foreign deities?[20]

It is permitted to write the names for learning purposes.

 

May one say the name of a city that is named after an idol or Saint?

From the letter of the law it is permitted to do so[21], although G-d fearing Jews are accustomed not to say the name but rather to say its initials or the like, such as S. Dieigo, S. Paul, S. Monica, and the like.

 

 


 



[1] 146/15; Avoda Zara 47b

[2] Michaber 147/1; Mishneh Sanhedrin 60b

[3] Michaber 147/1; Sanhedrin 63b

[4] This is learned from the verse “Vesheim Elokim Acheirim Lo Sazkiru, Lo Yishama Al Picha”

[5] See Taz 147/1 for the novelty of this ruling; See however Chavos Yair Teshuvah 1 Hasaga 11-12 that when there is an absolute necessity one may mention the name

[6] Shach 147/2; Perisha

[7] Michaber 147/4; Sanhedrin 63b

[8] Yireim brought in Hagahos Maimanins Avodas Kochavim 5/3; Chavos Yair Teshuvah 1 Hasaga 11-12; Biur Hagr”a 147/3; Teshuvos Rav Ezriel Hildsheimer 180

The reason: Only those names that were innovated for the sake of idolatry was the Torah particular against one mentioning.

[9] Poskim ibid; See Sanhedrin 43; 67; 105; 107; Avoda Zara 27; Yerushalmi Brachos 5/1

[10] Michaber 147/2; Mordechai in name of Ravayah; Hagahos Maimanis; Rabbeinu Yerucham

[11] Michaber 147/5; Sanhedrin 63b

[12] See Sefer Chassdim 427 that only to a Ger should one not mention the name of an idol even to make jest of him.

[13] Yireim brought in Hagahos Maimanins Avodas Kochavim 5/3; Chavos Yair Teshuvah 1 Hasaga 11-12; Biur Hagr”a 147/3; Teshuvos Rav Ezriel Hildsheimer 180

[14] See Biur Hagr”a ibid; This name is mentioned in various places in the Gemara and Rambam; ; See Sanhedrin 43; 67; 105; 107; Avoda Zara 27; Yerushalmi Brachos 5/1; However see Teshuvos Rav Ezriel Hildsheimer 180 that no proof can be brought from here that these names may be recited as there is no prohibition to write the names, simply to say them.

[15] Teshuvos Rav Ezriel Hildsheimer 180

[16] Teshuvos Rav Ezriel Hildsheimer 180

[17] Although we find Sefarim that write this term as well, nevertheless one cannot learn from them that it is permitted to say the names as writing is more lening than saying, as well as that it is permitted to write the names for learning purpsoes. [ibid]

[18] Chavos Yair Teshuvah 1 Hasaga 11-12

[19] The reason: In addition to all the reasons of allowance mentioned above regarding Yoshka, this woman is not worshiped or considered a G-d by even the Christians, and hence it has no relation to idolatry. [ibid]

[20] Chavos Yair Teshuvah 1 Hasaga 11-12; Teshuvos Rav Ezriel Hildsheimer 180

[21] The reason: In addition to all the reasons of allowance mentioned above regarding Yoshka, some of these names are not those of idols but rather of the worshipers. [ibid]

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