The name of a certain idol is commonly used (in the United States at least) as an exclamation, typically displaying surprise/anger etc.

Suppose someone was describing their disdain over something in a humorous way and ended their statement with using the name of an idol as an exclamation.

Is it forbidden to laugh at the statement?

  • 3
    Aren't all idols a joke? – Double AA Nov 6 '19 at 19:14

You are allowed to do a lot more than laugh, I am afraid. In a very unusual display of contempt, the Talmud says:

Rabbi Nachman said: All foul language is forbidden except where directed at idolatry, in which case it is permitted… Rabbi Huna ben Manoah said in the name of Rabbi Aha the son of Rabbi Ika: A Jew is permitted to tell [an idolater], “Take your idol and stick it up your rear end.” [Megillah 25b]

  • 2
    Where are you getting your translation from? I've always understand 'Leitzanusa' as 'mockery', not 'foul language' (and FWIW, Sefaria translates it as mockery as well). – Salmononius2 Nov 6 '19 at 20:40
  • @Salmononius2 -- After "mockery" Sefaria adds, editorially, "and obscenity" -- just to make the point clear: sefaria.org/… – Maurice Mizrahi Nov 6 '19 at 21:04
  • @MauriceMizrahi don't be afraid – user15464 Nov 7 '19 at 16:06
  • That's laughing at. I think the question was laughing with. – Mordechai Nov 12 '19 at 22:14

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