Ahavas Sholom – an Historic Landmark and Sacred Space

Newark's Last Remaining Synagogue born of the Great European Migration at the turn of the 20th Century

145 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104
Phone: 973-485-2609 | Email: cahavassholom@optimum.net


Simon Says, May 13, 2022

At the end of this week’s Parashah, Emor, a half-Israelite (his father was an Egyptian) was in a fight with an Israelite man.  The half-Israelite blasphemed the name of God (the Torah doesn’t tell us he did; we need to refer to the Ten Commandments:  “You shall not swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God.”  [alternative translation, “You shall not the name of your God in vain.”])  He was brought to Moses, and Moses awaited the decision of God.

God said to Moses, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and let all who were within hearing lay their hand upon his head, and let the whole community stone him.”

The curse word, “Goddamn,” is routine, and I investigated the origins of “Goddamn.”  The first use of the “Goddamn” was in 1431.  It was used, allegedly, by Joan of Arc, according to a book entitled, Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne, by Prosper de Barante.  (He lived from 1782 until 1866.)  Joan of Arc allegedly said, ” Mais, fussent-ils [les anglais] cent mille Goddem de plus qu’a present, ils n’auront pas ce royaume.”  I don’t read French, but I put Saint Joan’s remarks through the Google translator, and it came out like this:  ” But, were they [the English] a hundred thousand Goddem more than at present, they will not have this kingdom.”  “Goddamn” was said to have been a term of reproach applied to Englishmen by French during the Hundred Years’ War.

One other interesting thing.  The Cavaliers were wealthy supporters of King Charles I and King Charles II in the 17th century in England.  The Puritans in England called the Cavaliers “Goddammes” because of the Cavaliers’ frequent employment of that oath.

No matter what the half-Israelite said, we should not emulate the half-Israelite.