Source for not saying the word “cancer?”

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  • #1346499

    See title.

    #1346525

    Joseph
    Participant

    Ayin Hora.

    #1346537

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Al tiftach peh lesatan
    Yoma 39b

    #1346551

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I don’t think it stems from alcohol.

    #1346556

    There are many undesired things which people do not refrain from saying, Joseph/Ubiquitin.
    (Ayin hora – what?)

    #1346577

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “There are many undesired things which people do not refrain from saying, ”

    Ok thats a new topic, why do people talk about undesirable things if it says al tiftach peh lesatan
    I was just answering Rebyid’s question.

    See this related post though for an explanation as to why cancer is different
    https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/what-is-up-with-yeneh-machalah

    #1346588

    I think you might be misinterpreting that statement.

    #1346590

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I don’t understand what is going on here. Could someone get me a recap of what has happened from the beginning of this thread?

    #1346662

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    oops I was answering R4nd0m3x’s question not Rebyid.

    #1346778

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Traditionally, Jewish people have refrained from mentioning those things that were big killers, or bad things in general. They’ve referred to ‘the Gezeira’, ‘the Milchama’ and the like.

    This has its origin in the Gemara. We find a common reference to a disease of דבר אחר, ‘something else’, which is akin to ‘Yenne Machlah’.

    Seemingly, the idea is so as not to give it even a toe-hold in our life.

    #1346825

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself. – Dumbledore

    #1346828

    Yankelle
    Participant

    Ignorance and superstition. The only effect of discussing these matters in an indirect and shameful manner is preventing better awareness.

    #1346841

    apushatayid
    Participant

    for example, the term “ereh binechama” used in the gemara, when in fact the oppostie is meant.

    the gemara uses euphamisms all the time instead of mentioning bad things.

    #1346842

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I think it can also contribute to making patients and their families feel more alone and more fearful.

    #1346843

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    These kind of practices are an arcane holdover from prior generations….not just within the frum community but even in the secular world. Millenials today (frum or otherwise) have few if any inhibitions about discussing health-related matters openly and frankly. That kind of transparency is a real positive as Yankele noted for awareness and the mental and emotional health of those who sadly may be suffering in silence. Hopefully, the old “ayin horah” meshugaas in this context will simply go away.

    Edited

    #1346849

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Prior generations had other diseases to deal with.

    #1347036

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    GH – If in fact there is a source in the Gemara as others have stated, then your post is highly problematic and inappropriate.
    Even if there isn’t, I think that it is still unnecessarily negative. If you would prefer to call it “cancer” then call it cancer, but don’t attack those who use a different term than you do. That strikes me as close-minded especially if you haven’t asked them why they use this term. Maybe there is a good reason for it.

    And there is no reason to assume that calling it “The machla” instead of cancer has any connection to how open people are about it. You can call it “The Machla” and be open about it and you can call it cancer and be closed about it.

    #1347464

    Euphemisms such as “sagi nahar” have fallen out of use – that’s not an answer.

    They’ve referred to ‘the Gezeira’, ‘the Milchama’ and the like.
    Oh, I thought “the Milchama” was just easier for Yiddish-speakers than “World War II.”
    I’ve actually never heard of “the Gezeira” – what is it?

    We find a common reference to a disease of דבר אחר,
    ‘something else’, which is akin to ‘Yenne Machlah’.

    I’ve not heard of that either. Doesn’t דבר אחר usually refer to pigs,
    which are not an evil that might affect us?

    #1347573

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Who says “fallen out of use” is necessarily a good thing? Perhaps we’ve lost a certain sensitivity that was a positive attribute.

    “Make a bracha” was the common phrase for have something to eat. Now its, have a bite. Is that a good thing that the focus had shifted from ruchniyus to gashmiyus?

    #1347609

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “Euphemisms such as “sagi nahar” have fallen out of use – that’s not an answer.”

    Some have, some havent.
    We may not refer to a Sagi nahor but I have heard many people refer to a “bais hachaim”
    I have also heard some people refer to cancer as yehne machla, as It seems you have as well.

    I’m not saying I avoid the word cancer, im not saying it is halacha in shulchan aruch or that saying it leads to bad things. Im not even saying that it is a good reason or that it makes sense.
    You wanted to know why some people avoid saying it. Now you know.

    #1347611

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “Euphemisms such as “sagi nahar” have fallen out of use – that’s not an answer.”

    Well, apparently, they haven’t fallen out of use – at least in some communities.

    #1347675

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    I don’t know if what the “mekor” is but we find that certain simanim in the Shulchan Aruch have the “osios” rearranged to not spell certain words:

    Siman 275: The siman is referred to as “AYIN REISH HAY” and not “REISH AYIN and HAY”

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49625&st=%D7%A2%D7%A8%D7%94&pgnum=107

    Siman 344: The siman is referred to as “SHIN DALED MEM” and not “SHIN MEM and DALED”

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=49625&st=%D7%A2%D7%A8%D7%94&pgnum=388

    #1347719

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    There are 3 kinds of euphemisms that I can think of
    1. ones that are used so as to avoid impolite/inappropriate/non-tznius speech that is not fitting for mouths that talk diveri Torak and kedusha.
    2. Lashon Sagi Nahor would be when the phrase is the opposite of the meaning- like the example given above, Beis HaChaim. Probably to make something unpleasant, pleasant, or to avoid saying things that should not be said- like when we say that Birchas Hashem is one of the 7 Mitzvos Bnei Noach, it really means the opposite.
    3. Things that are so horrible we do not want to mention the name. Like Yena machla and Oso HaIsh.
    I agree that even though that are a lot of bad diseases out there, some with no cure, a diagnosis of cancer is probably one of the most dreaded things. Even for the survivors, the treatment is very difficult and there is always a fear of recurrence, hence it has a status of its own. But I would personally not use a term like yena machla- I think it makes it more scary, not less, like it is hopeless ( I agree with Dumbledore on this one). Also it has the wrong implication- since cancer is not one disease, and treatments and cure rates vary greatly. Some are very curable, and some are not. They really should not be lumped together.

    #1347720

    thatcaljew
    Participant

    I believe the mekor is from one of the previous Gerrer rebbes, therefor I don’t think it is wise to scoff the minhag as it was implemented by someone greater than we, aside why do some people seem offended. say whatever term makes you happy but don’t judge others because of your decision.

    #1347742

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Appropriate to the time of year…. Simana milsa hi. Will the same people scoff at those who dip Apple in honey and eat the other simanim? Will they out it down as some form of old superstition?

    Leitzanus is easy and requires no effort. Stopping to listen and understand the other side requires patience and time. Its way easier to be a leitz (talking from experience). Its not the right way.

    #1347857

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    apushatayid, indeed the modern mind had a hard time with the simanim. I’ve heard so many Drashos and lectures from inspirational speakers, who seemingly have a hard time believing that Chazal, and reinterpret the simanim as a mussar reminder or its a (once-a-year type of) Tefilla.

    I think we’d get a lot further if, instead of changing things to match our world view, we would delve into understanding the big picture that Chazal are coming off.

    #1347885

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Gamanit and WTP: I am not sure an attribution to a fictional character is appropriate to this discussion. Even attributing it to J. K. Rowling may not be appropriate.

    Some people say the word, some don’t.

    #1347904

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I personally have found the euphemism hurtful.

    #1347939

    Goldilocks
    Participant

    I’ve heard (I don’t remember the source) that the word “cancer” stems from idols. Apparently the disease cancer was named after a constellation which was named after an idol. That might be one reason why people don’t want to say it.

    #1347947

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Apushatayid: “Leitzanus is easy and requires no effort. Stopping to listen and understand the other side requires patience and time. Its way easier to be a leitz (talking from experience). Its not the right way.”

    +1.

    #1348022

    The constellation is not named for an idol – “cancer” is Latin for “crab.”
    It’s been used in the medical sense for close to 2500 years.
    (“Applied to cancerous tumors because the enlarged veins resembled the legs of a crab” – Wiktionary.)

    #1348035

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “I’ve heard (I don’t remember the source) that the word “cancer” stems from idols.”

    You heard wrong.
    A quick google search will tell you the etymology of “Cancer” The disease and constellation are both named after a crab.

    Halevai
    “who seemingly have a hard time believing that Chazal,”
    You are making the same mistake you made on a related issue. I dont think they have a hard time believing chazal. They have a hard time understanding chazal. Sure it is possible that Chazal meant eating sweet foods will bring a sweet year. But it is also possible that they meant something deeper. Perhaps they meant it as “as a mussar reminder or its a (once-a-year type of) Tefilla.”

    iacrisma
    “I am not sure an attribution to a fictional character is appropriate to this discussion”

    Kabel haemes mimi sheomro.

    #1348048

    AlmostHuman
    Participant

    I’m sorry to say but you are all talking complete rubbish. I lost my wife to CANCER & btw “heart attack” which is used often is a bigger killer than cancer.
    If there’s any reason for not using the word is not to scare children.
    If I may go off the topic slightly if a parent ח”ו has it the biggest חסד that can be done to the children is tell them & explain even basically what is going on. It’ll be weirder if they find out when it’s too.latr

    #1348143

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Almost Human – First of all, I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. That sounds inadequate, but I don’t know what else I can say.

    Second of all, thanks for the input from someone who knows about the topic from experience, even though I’m sure it’s not easy for you to discuss it.

    Third of all, I agree with you that parents should tell their children. Of course, I can’t really judge anyone else, especially since B”H, I’ve never been in that situation, but it does sound like the healthier approach to me, by far!

    Fourth of all, I know this wasn’t your point, but how open one is about it has nothing to do with the term used. Some people are more comfortable with one term, and others with the other. Who cares? Why can’t people be more tolerant and open-minded of those who do things differently than them?

    #1348163

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Children are less afraid of the word cancer. It something more adults fear. Heart attacks are different because they are more sudden and less prolonged.

    #1348164

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Lilmod, why should people tolerate the avoidance of the word “cancer” more than the use of the word “retard”?

    #1348191

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I also think that people should tolerate the avoidance of the word “retard”!

    “Children are less afraid of the word cancer. It something more adults fear.”
    I agree.

    “Heart attacks are different because they are more sudden and less prolonged.”
    I think it’s also because people view cancer as an invader coming and invading their body, and that is scary!

    #1348227

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    ALmosthuman

    Im sorry for your loss, may you know no more tzar.

    “btw “heart attack” which is used often is a bigger killer than cancer.”

    I dont think that is correct. Although if you change “Heart attack” to “Heart disease” then it is true. For now, if current trends continue then Cancer will surpass Hear t disease in a few years.

    Secondly
    While Heart disease is a bigger killer than cancer. This is true for those >65 (and the general population as a whole since those >65 make up more deaths than those < 65) Cancer is among the leading causes of death in EVERY single age group other than infants <1 month. and it is THE leading cause of death in those aged 5- 64 (if you remove accidents, homicides and suicides)

    I think LU’s point is true too “I think it’s also because people view cancer as an invader coming and invading their body,”

    Plus see my comment on the thread linked above where I give anothr distinction or two

    #1349760

    Quotations should not be attributed solely to a fictional character.

    #1349943

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Wow, I don’t believe it – Ubiquitin actually agreed with me about something (granted, not something particularly important)! Has that ever happened before?

    #1349982

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “Has that ever happened before?”

    Yes
    And again kabel es haemes mimi sheomro. When you are right you are right

    #1350371

    AlmostHuman
    Participant

    Rebyidd23 b”H you haven’t been in the situation. I know by the way you are carrying on talking through your hat.
    There are certain 😷 cancers that are silent & by the time the person finds out they have it they are almost dead with no way of stopping it.

    #1350445

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Almosthuman, that is exactly what makes cancer so scary. Because it is prolonged and often invisible. People are less scared of heart attacks because while it can happen at any moment, they can be reasonably confident that they are not in the process of having a heart attack.

    #1351013

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “Has that ever happened before?”

    “Yes”

    When?

    “And again kabel es haemes mimi sheomro. When you are right you are right”

    I was right the other times, too. I’m just impressed that you were able to acknowledge it this time.

    #1351028

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “I’m just impressed that you were able to acknowledge it this time.”

    dont be. Ive acknowledged when Im wrong many times. It isnt hard for me. Inn fact ID say If Im wrong I always acknowledge it

    For both an example where I admit and where you are without question wrong (and cant admit it) See this thread https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/how-did-rabbi-akiva-die/page/3
    (the part you are without question wrong about is Joseph. See the Joseph is joseph thread, perhaps pin it to your task bar)

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