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This is an explosive issue, that could have a many consequences. With great apprehension, I expose these questions to the community.


The Talmud (AZ 27b) and in the Tosfot talks about the issur to frequent the מינים and to cure by them:

לא ישא ויתן אדם עם המינים ואין מתרפאין מהן אפילו לחיי שעה וכו' שאני מינות דמשכא דאתי לממשך בתרייהו וכו'

1) Is another benefit permitted? For example, to receive a gift from him? Or the man became like an איסור הנאה , a דרבנן extension to the issur to benefit from an avoda zara?

2) In the history, there was some mathematicians that were religious or theologists. So, is it permitted to use "their" theorems? Is it considered a profit from the מינים ? ("to use" include to use them in a mathematical proof, but also in everyday life... when using a system based on this 'technology'.)

3) IMHO, in almost all cases, if he did not discover this, another man did. Just question of time. But, now, the theorem is called on the name of the מין so maybe remains some אתי לממשך בתרייהן ?

4) Or, sometimes, even they were not, but, they learned mathematics from missionaries etc. Does the problem propagate ?

5) More recently, a computer language was created by a missionary. (I suppose, with a growing up team around him -- as usual in hack community.) Is it permitted to program with this language? Or, much more important: to access a website that runs this language?

  • Again -- if the language did not exist, the developers just chose another... הנאה הבאה לו על כרחו ? Or even not considered an הנאה : for me there is absolutely no gain from using this language.

  • is a mathematical concept, a man's creation, or he just was who Hashem choose to discover one of His world's rules?...

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    On what basis do you suspect that learning mathematics could be forbidden? Tosafot discusses interacting with heretics yourself. He states absolutely nothing about benefiting from an idea thought of by a person who may have learned from a theologian. – mevaqesh Feb 16 '17 at 20:16
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    is a mathematical concept, a man's creation, or he just was who Hashem choose to discover one of His world's rules?... This seems like a subjective question of semantics, that is really unanswerable. A much better question would be whether learning mathematics is included in the statement of Tosafot. (On the basis of my previous comment I cannot fathom how it might be). – mevaqesh Feb 16 '17 at 20:17
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    microscopic micro-organismes are not an invention of the man who invented microscope – kouty Feb 16 '17 at 21:50
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    Why not just prove the theorems yourself and rename them after Gedolim? – Double AA Feb 19 '17 at 19:11
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    Re "But, now, the theorem is called on the name of the מין": nota, many theorems in mathematics are named after someone who proved them not first. – msh210 Feb 20 '17 at 21:11
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Igros Moshe Even HaEzer (1:96) (not on Hebrewbooks) says that it makes sense to say that only about holy things (like writing a Sefer Torah) there is a decree against "leaving a name for the wicked (meaning Apikorsim - heretics)".

Therefore, one's allowed to use and call medical or mechanical inventions after them.

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  • Therefore, one's allowed to use and call medical or mechanical inventions after them. This seems to say one may use an item named after them, or name an item after them. Are you saying that one may use an item invented by them? If not, I don't see how this related to the OP. – mevaqesh Feb 19 '17 at 20:25
  • @mevaqesh The Igros Moshe talks about singing songs that were composed by a min. So it seems his sentence indeed also applies to a machine invented by them. – yO_ Feb 20 '17 at 18:06
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    Shmuel, is there any more info on the teshuvah which is relevant, for those of us without an Igros Moshe? – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 20 '17 at 18:31
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    @yO_ The line in the answer is poorly worded, and should be improved regardless If you happen to be familiar with the IGM and know that intent, that doesn't change that. – mevaqesh Feb 20 '17 at 19:02
  • @mevaqesh What is the problem, exactly? The bold text is the loshon of Rav Moshe itself in the teshuva. He says this explicitly. – yO_ Feb 22 '17 at 21:53

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