Cities Named after A Priest



What is the halachic basis for not saying cities named after a goyish priest who have been sainted such as S-a-nta Monica and the like? Is it a chumrah and inyan or actually a halachic issue? Does the issue apply also in writing or is it only in saying the name of such places?



The name of a “saint” which is also a common name in society may be said, however without the prefix of “saint” (nor any other title of honor). One should also not write it, since it may cause the reader to pronounce it while reading. For this reason, one should not even write the initial “S.”.

With regards to the name of a city:

​Although halachically there may be room for leniency (we could consider the “title” as part of the city name), the Rebbe was hesitant regarding it and the accepted custom is not to pronounce it and therefore, also not to write it (as explained above). When the Rebbe was asked how to write a city name on the front page of the Tanya, he referred the question to a Rav, and subsequently, it was printed without the “title”. In letters the Rebbe wrote the name without the title, see for example Likkutei Sichos vol. 23 pg. 486.


להעיר ממקרא מלא במטות לב, לח וברש״י שם. וראה ע״ז מו, א. וכמובן – שאני בעניננו. וראה בית יוסף יו”ד סימן קמז ד”ה וכתב רבינו ירוחם. שו”ע שם ס”ב. דרכי תשובה שם סק”ז. לקו”ש חכ”ו ע’ 429. והעירני ח״א שבהתוועדות כ׳ מנ״א תשח״י שומעים בין השיחות שכ״ק אד״ש הזכיר ס. פראנציסקו.




Comments (2)

  • Levi October 4, 2021 - 3 years ago

    If one was given a non-Jewish name, sourced in Avoda Zarah (Matthew, mark…) is he obligated to have his legal name changed so as to distance himself from Avoda Zarah, even if he only uses it for government papers and the like but not for day to day activities?

    • AskTheRav October 4, 2021 - 3 years ago

      There is no such obligation. However, one might choose to do so.

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