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Not Mentioning the Name of an Idol

Practical Parshah - Massei

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Not Mentioning the Name of an Idol: Practical Parshah - Massei

In listing the places where the Jews encamped, we learn alternative names for locations named for idols. What is the law about mentioning the name of a false deity?
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Idolatry; Paganism, Parshah, Massei

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Dvorah Lakeville August 9, 2011

Don't mention it #2. As I said before, I grew up in a very assimilated family. My mother worked, so when it came time to send my little brother to Hebrew school they chose an orthodox shul that was right across the street from our public school. This way she did not have to worry about him traveling alone. Several of his friends with similar backgrounds were sent to that Hebrew school for the same reason. These boys had very little background. My brother and his friend were thrown out one day for one asking the other, "what are you doing over.......vacation?" This event, and several others like it, turned my brother (and his friends) completely off to his religion, and so far sharing my understanding and knowledge with him has been unfruitful. How sad! Reply

Dvorah Lakeville August 9, 2011

Don't mention it. Thank you, Rabbi, for a very interesting and informative class. I am, however, left with questions. It is clear to me why one should not ascribe prominence to a false deity by using it as a focal point in time or in space. What I am unclear on is this: I was born into a (mostly) non-observant family and as a result I grew up developing friendships with both Jews and non-Jews. I continue to be blessed with some wonderful non-Jewish friends, people who are highly spiritual, moral, and decent. One could not know better human beings. We often have intelligent discussions about the differences and similarities of our faiths and we discuss religious history as well. These talks are based on mutual respect, and by their nature require mention of a certain Jew that they consider to be a deity. It seems counter productive, in the goal of promoting love over hate and hastening the time of our redemption, to refuse to acknowledge the existence of their religion. Comments? I continue..... Reply

Each week, Rabbi Mendel Kaplan will delve into that week's Torah reading to bring out a practical lesson for life and explain the Biblical sources for the customs, laws, practices and ethics of our people.
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