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Names of false gods
#1
Shalom Rabbi!
Are we to refrain from saying the names of false gods? Are we to refrain from writing them also? If so, does it matter if it is in a teaching mode? Or do we only refrain from saying the names of false gods in a synagogue?
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#2
The Jews are commanded in the Torah: "...and the name of other gods do not mention, they should not be heard on your lips" (Exodus 23:13).

The Rambam rules that the prohibition of mentioning the name of an idol also applies to Noahides. This also applies to writing and teaching. The reason for this is so as not to acknowledge the idol or give any of its worshippers the opportunity to worship it or praise it in any manner. Those idols mentioned in the Torah may be said as the purpose there is to abolish the idol and denigrate it. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory, said in one of his discourses that even the name of an idol not mentioned in the Torah may be said in a derogatory way, if the purpose is to denigrate it, mock it and to abolish it as an object of worship. But certainly to swear in its name, or to make an oath in its name, is forbidden, even as a false oath or as a lie.

I saw that one Rabbi, the head of a Yeshiva, had once said that the power of speech is such that improper words influence us negatively, regardless of the intention behind them; therefore it is best not to get into the habit of saying names of idols.
Rabbi Yitz
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#3
rabbiyitz Wrote:The Jews are commanded in the Torah: "...and the name of other gods do not mention, they should not be heard on your lips" (Exodus 23:13).

The Rambam rules that the prohibition of mentioning the name of an idol also applies to Noahides.

The Rambam is oft quoted...how can I find some of these references on my own??
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#4
Almost all of the relevant references to the Torah laws codifed in the Rambam's Mishneh Torah are listed in the footnotes after each chapter in "The Path of the Righteous Gentile":

http://www.moshiach.com/action/morality/
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#5
The only time it is prohibited to mention the name of an idol is when the name is referring to the idol itself, but here the name is referring to the planet and is not meant in an idolatrous way or as giving recognition to the idol. The Talmud mentions the names of the planets, and I was always under the impression that these were names for the actual planets, and not that the planets were idols. One example is Mars which is called Maadim in the Talmud. I always understood Mars to be a Latinization of Maadim, and Saturn a Latinization of Shabtai.
Rabbi Yitz
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#6
B"H

How is it that there is a Hebrew month named after the idol Tamuz, if mentioning the names of idols is prohibited?
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#7
From "The Divine Code," Volume 1, p. 252:
"It is permitted to mention the name of any idol that is written in the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Scriptures." (See Sefer Ha'Chinuch, Commandment 86.)

The name Tammuz appears in the following verse:
"And He brought me to the entrance at the Gate of the House of the L-rd which was at the north; and there were there women sitting, bewailing the Tammuz" (Yechezkel 8:14)

In the context of this month in the middle of the summer, it is known as a month of tragedies which would lead to still greater tragedies, as commemorated by the Jewish fast day of the 17th of Tammuz. That day commemorates the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and later by the Romans, which led up to the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples, respectively. (It is also the day when the Golden Calf was worshiped and Moses broke the first Tablets of the 10 Commandments.)

Providentially, the Babylonian name for that month was Tammuz. The Jews adopted that name for the corresponding month in the Jewish calendar during the 70 years of the Babylonian exile. The appropriateness of the name should be clear. The Prophet Yechezkel was being shown by G-d the reasons for His great anger, namely, the various forms of foreign idol-worship which had been adopted by the Jews to replace the Divine Service in the First Holy Temple. This behavior was one of the main contributing factors in G-d's decree that the First Temple would be destroyed.

Thus, taking on this name for the historically tragic month became an eternal reminder to the Jews that they should never again let themselves be influenced to turn to idol worship, G-d forbid.
Rabbi Yitz
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#8
rabbiyitz Wrote:The only time it is prohibited to mention the name of an idol is when the name is referring to the idol itself, but here the name is referring to the planet and is not meant in an idolatrous way or as giving recognition to the idol.

Thanks for your answer.
I guess that this also applies to saying the names of places when the place is named after idols or idolatrous cults.
There are thousands of such places in my country and it is difficult not mention them sometimes.

Niklas
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#9
Yes, that's correct.
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