Sefer Ha-Hayim Blog
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Non-Kosher Quotes
I received some online and offline comments about the title of a recent post on Hirhurim, the origin of which is in the Christian bible.

R. Yehuda Henkin has an interesting teshuvah (#26) in volume 4 of Bnei Banim on the subject of whether those who believe that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is the messiah are considered to be heretics. The responsum was addressed to me, and at the time I received permission from him to publicize it. So I posted it online (here). The text of the question I sent began with rich praises of R. Henkin, as is the traditional style, and R. Henkin began his response by humbly deflecting the praise. In the context of such deflection, he pointed out that there is a phrase sometimes quotes by posekim (e.g. Responsa Hasam Sofer 5:22) "Ein navi le-iro" whose origin is in the Christian bible.

Granted, those who quoted it probably did not know its origin. But now that we do, are we prohibited from using the phrase? I would venture, based on intuition and without any sources or backing, that once the phrase has entered the common idiom it loses its "non-kosher" origin and just becomes a regular, eloquent turn of phrase. I would suggest that the same applies to the phrase "And the truth shall set you free." It is now part of the common idiom and no longer retains any connection to its origin (much like words such as "crux").

Feel free to disagree.

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