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The Torah (Leviticus 20:9) tells us:

"for any man who curses his father or his mother, shall be put to death..."

What exactly would be considered "cursing" here?

  • Might be totally wrong but couldn't cursing entail magic? Like casting spells / black evil magic one ones own parents. – Ilja May 12 at 2:00
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He says "may G-d strike you" or the like, using one of the 7 names that cannot be cancelled, as below. (following Mishna 7.5) (1)

Mishna Sanhedrin 7:8

המקלל אביו ואמו, אינו חייב עד שיקללם בשם (באחד מן השמות המיוחדים, ברטנורה). קללם בכינוי, רבי מאיר מחייב וחכמים פוטרין

MISHNA: One who curses his father or his mother is not liable to be executed by stoning unless he curses them with the name of God. If he cursed them with an appellation of the name of God, Rabbi Meir deems him liable, and the Rabbis deem him exempt.

The Yachin (in his commentary to this mishnah) says, with one of the 7 names that cannot be cancelled. The Yad Rama in his commentary to Sanhedrin 66a says that we learn what are the names in Gemara Shevuot 35a

Shevuot 35a

יש שמות שנמחקין ויש שמות שאין נמחקין אלו הן שמות שאין נמחקין כגון אל אלהיך אלהים אלהיכם אהיה אשר אהיה אלף דלת ויוד הי שדי צבאות הרי אלו אין נמחקין

These are names that may not be erased: For example, several variations of the name God [Elohim]: El, Elohekha with a second person singular suffix, Elohim, Eloheikhem with a second person plural suffix; I Shall Be As I Shall Be, alef dalet, yod heh, Almighty [Shaddai], Lord of Hosts [Tzevaot], these names may not be erased.


(1) There the issue is to curse g-d by g-d, and the statement is "יכה יוסי את יוסי" G-d strike G-d. So I infer that here the statement is G-d strike you.

  • 1
    Does it have to be in Hebrew, or does a translation also count? – user9806 May 10 at 17:42
  • Why in Hebrew, the name needs to be on the Hebrew form but not the statement – kouty May 11 at 20:12

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