At the end of Rambam Hilchot Avodah Zara 5 (halacha 14 by some counts, 10 by others), he says

‫ ואפילו להזכיר שם עבודה זרה שלא דרך שבועה--אסור, שנאמר "לא תזכירו". לא יאמר אדם לחברו, שמור לי בצד עבודה זרה פלונית וכיוצא בזה. וכל עבודה זרה הכתובה בכתבי הקודש--מותר להזכיר שמה, כגון פעור ובל ונבו וגד וכיוצא בהן.

Basically, it's forbidden to mention the names of idols, even to say "near idol x", except for the ones mentioned in Tanach.

As far as i know, the Greek gods are not mentioned by name in Tanach (see Are any Greek or Roman gods mentioned by name in the Bible? on Christianity.SE, which mentions a couple from the NT but none from Tanach).

However, i know Orthodox Jews who indeed mention the names of Greek gods.

Is there a heter for this practice? Perhaps because they have entered Western culture (unlikely though, because idolatry was big in Eastern culture as well, and is clearly forbidden ;)). Perhaps because they have fallen out of favor for the most part? (Though see Does anyone still worship ancient greek [sic] gods like Apollo and Diana? on Yahoo Answers, which says that there are.)

  • FWIW, there were a couple of Tanach citations on that CSE question: last one in this answer is from I Kings; this comment cites Judges (though in Greek).
    – MTL
    Feb 8, 2015 at 19:28
  • @Shokhet I'm not sure the Ashterot == Aphrodite counts. Looking at Wikipedia, Venus/Aphrodite might have been influenced by Ashterot, but they're separate.
    – Scimonster
    Feb 8, 2015 at 19:38
  • Fair enough. Just thought I'd mention it. ...the other one probably doesn't count either, as I haven't been able to find anything that remotely sounds like "Aries" in the surrounding verses.
    – MTL
    Feb 8, 2015 at 19:46
  • @Shokhet חרס -> Heres -> Ares.
    – Scimonster
    Feb 8, 2015 at 19:49
  • Ah. Thanks for that :) ....a bit of a random place/way to reference a Greek god, if it's really supposed to do that.
    – MTL
    Feb 8, 2015 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


The fact that no-one associates the name of the Greek goddess of victory with it's pagan origins is precisely the reason Rabbi Yisroel Belsky told me not to worry about the apparel company named after her.

He added there is room to be stringent if you really want to, just don't make yourself or others crazy.

  • 2
    – Double AA
    Feb 8, 2015 at 18:10
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    @Double I left out the name and link so people would appreciate finding it after searching and have an aha! moment. It wasn't as a chumra:)
    – user6591
    Feb 8, 2015 at 18:14
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    This appears to be based on the Beis Yizchak (YD 152:5), who says that it is okay if the name has become most commonly associated with something other than the deity (which explains why chazal had no problem referring to money as mammon).
    – Fred
    Feb 9, 2015 at 7:21
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    @Fred could be. But is it historically accurate to assume mammon was a deity before money was called that?
    – user6591
    Feb 9, 2015 at 20:37
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    @user6591 Perhaps not, but that's the example that was given in the responsum.
    – Fred
    Feb 9, 2015 at 20:44

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