Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Guess I Have To Rename My Blog...

As I'm sure you've read by now, an official in Israel has been referring to the swine flu epidemic as 'Mexican flu." In the statement of R. Yaakov Litzman:

"We will call it Mexico flu. We won't call it swine flu in order not to have to pronounce the word swine."

And yet, Rabbi Litzman, you used it in that sentence. Twice. And, with all the commenting that people have made about your silly statement, you have caused the word to be said many, many more times. :)

The W***

(Hat tip: made public upon request of the person who emailed me a link)

10 comments:

Moshe klass said...

How about piggish musings?

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

Pork has been singled out in particular to be referred to as "davar acher" in polite rabbinic company.
So "Wolf" still remains acceptable.
As proof, I would say that many "ultra-proper" Jews have always named their own children after wolves, bears, and lions regularly!
(In yiddish, of course--that's "wolf", "bear" and "leib" respectively. I personally adore the name "Leo".)

Pesky Settler said...

So I suppose he paskens that using pig valve replacements for humans is also Assur?

Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

It doesn't matter to me if you credit me with a tip or not :)
And as I said in the email, I wonder if the next thing will be to make sure "milk" and "meat" are not mixed in the same sentence ;)

(I deleted my previous comment because I was in the process of switching to a different google account).

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

This is obviously a slow news day if the best you can do is pick up on an anti-Orthodox rant in Haaretz and run with it.

1) Who cares what they call it? What matters is that he runs the ministry effectively and makes sure the appropriate precautions are taken. Honestly, if he does that effectively, who cares if he has a problem with the name?

2) Go and read what the other papers say about him. According to the Jerusalem Post he's an excellent beaurocrat and well suited to run the health ministry. It's at Haaretz that making fun of him because he's religious is more important than seeing if he's actually doing a good job.

ProfK said...

Garnel,
A good administrator may still misspeak. And for the Health Ministry Adminstrator to shy away from the "correct" terminology for a health condition is not a positive thing. So he will call it the Mexican flu and newspapers will call it the swine flu, both in Israel and abroad. And the general public that hears these two terms being used? Some of them--and no comment, please, on the brightness of the general public--will believe that two different types of flu strains are epidemic at the same time. A public official needs to use the "public" terminology for a health element, one that is cogent with the terms being used around the world, regardless of his personal or religious convictions.

He also seems to be a bit out of step with rabbanim who have not ossured the use of the word "chazer" in many a Yiddish and English saying that is common in both languages. In Yiddish "Ehr hot geh essen azoi vie a chazer" or "Zei nisht a chazer!" In English we tell people "Don't be such a pig" or "He eats like a pig." And what would he do with the English construction " piggy-back"?

Steelers Guy said...

My Rabbi in Pittsburgh, Rabbi Swift is in doubt. Sometimes he calls it the Swine Flu and sometimes he calls it the Other Matter Flu.

Anonymous said...

Is Haaretz often snide and anti-religious in the tone and content of its reporting? Absolutely. But does that invalidate the basic facts at issue here (which no one seems to have disputed)? Certainly NOT.
To wit: a govt. official has deemed it appropriate for official policy regarding a health issue to be determined, if only in name, by the fact that a pig is not kosher to eat. This sort of thing, revealing as it does a very parochial mindset (not to say juvenile & inane) does not instill confidence in the man as one who should hold any power in decisions affecting the country.

Joshua said...

Garnel, this isn't a rant in Haaretz at all, simply a news report (not to say that that is always true with that newspaper. Far from it) . And frankly, if he is spending 5 seconds being stupid about the name then that's 5 seconds he isn't doing his job. This is a great example of a waste of resources.