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Author Topic: The meaning of the word "goyim"  (Read 18048 times)

JayneK

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The meaning of the word "goyim"
« on: January 01, 2010, 10:00:pm »
I have noticed some confusion about what the Yiddish word "goyim" means.  It is borrowed from the Hebrew, in which the singular "goy" and plural "goyim" literally mean "nation, nations".  This word is used extensively in the Old Testament, sometimes to refer the nation of Israel and sometimes to other nations.  It is this latter usage which is the source of its current meaning.  The word "goyim" refers to those of "other nations", in other words "non-Jews" or "gentiles".  It is not an intrinsicallly pejorative or derogatory term. 

I have seen a claim that the word "goyim" means cattle.  There very well may have been some Jewish source which said "goyim are cattle" (although this is not, in my experience, a common view among Jews).  While such a sentence would be disturbing and insulting, it is not a definition of "goyim".  Similarlly, if some Christian source wrote, "Jews are dogs" it would not mean that the word "Jew" meant the same thing as "dog".   When people write these sorts of things, they are insulting each other, not defining words.

There is quite enough bad feeling and misunderstanding, without people feeling insulted by words that are not actually insults.  In most cases, one should translate the word "goyim" as "gentile" and not see this a negative term.
ADORABLE Saviour, consider my many wants, and grant me those graces which Thou knowest I stand in need of to do Thy will in all things.

alaric

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2010, 11:07:pm »
Maybe you can explain this quote from the Talmud then.........

"“Even the best of the ‘goyim’ should all be killed.”"(Soferim 15)

I understand somewhat of what you're saying Jayne, but let's not fool ourselves here, some of these old rabbi's through antiquity absolutely hated non-Jews, especially Christians, Jesus and his mother. and they wrote some real nasty things about the "goyim" and it had nothing to do with "other nations".

They literally believed we are subhuman and could be treated as so.

And no, I know that not every living, breathing Jew that walks the planet believes this, but many do, especially the orthodox or Hasidic sects, so there is no confusion here about the use of this word in certain contexts, there is no reason to muddle the issue.
To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die. There is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time, and betrayal.
--- Alexander Solzhenitsyn


"Wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it, and right is right even if nobody is doing it."
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SCG

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2010, 11:09:pm »
Thanks Jayne.
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien

SoCalLocal

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2010, 11:14:pm »

JayneK

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2010, 11:22:pm »
And no, I know that not every living, breathing Jew that walks the planet believes this, but many do, especially the orthodox or Hasidic sects, so there is no confusion here about the use of this word in certain contexts, there is no reason to muddle the issue.

When Jews build a monument to "righteous goyim" they are expressing gratittude.  When a Jewish person says "my neighbour is a goy", it is quite possibly a neutral statement of fact.  When the Talmud says "goyim should be killed" it is evil and disturbing.  When the context is saying something evil about non-Jews, the problem is that it is saying something evil.  The problem is not the word used for non-Jews.  There are enough real problems without people thinking that a word is an insult when it is not. 
ADORABLE Saviour, consider my many wants, and grant me those graces which Thou knowest I stand in need of to do Thy will in all things.


JayneK

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2010, 11:32:pm »
What about Goyfinger?
http://video.adultswim.com/robot-chicken/ross-hashanah.html   ;D

This video is not available in Canada.  I found a description on wikipedia:
Quote
In an episode of Robot Chicken, Bond is parodied by a Jewish version of himself, named Ross Hashanah. The scene he is in starts off with the gun-barrel sequence, but the barrel is in the shape of the Star of David. Bond shoots the barrel and as blood flows down the screen, Bond says "Ah, don't get any blood on the new carpet!" Then it shows Bond in several scenes with Bond fighting ninjas, parachuting, asking Q how many miles per gallon his car gets, and a parody of the famous scene where Bond is strapped to a table and has a laser being shot slowly moving up between his legs. In that scene, he asks "Goyfinger" if he expects him to talk and Goyfinger says to him "No mister Hashanah, I expect you to eat this BLT!" Then Bond says, "That's not Kosher!" as Goyfinger shoves the sandwich into Bonds mouth. The clip references many Jewish stereotypes in addition to Bond cliches, such as cheapness, an unwillingness to eat pork and a stereotypical Jewish accent. The tagline of the "film" is "This summer, get chillin' with the tefillin!"

My theory is that this is humour.  (Do you realize that we are missing a deadpan icon?)
ADORABLE Saviour, consider my many wants, and grant me those graces which Thou knowest I stand in need of to do Thy will in all things.

alaric

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2010, 11:40:pm »
And no, I know that not every living, breathing Jew that walks the planet believes this, but many do, especially the orthodox or Hasidic sects, so there is no confusion here about the use of this word in certain contexts, there is no reason to muddle the issue.

When Jews build a monument to "righteous goyim" they are expressing gratittude.  When a Jewish person says "my neighbour is a goy", it is quite possibly a neutral statement of fact.  When the Talmud says "goyim should be killed" it is evil and disturbing.  When the context is saying something evil about non-Jews, the problem is that it is saying something evil.  The problem is not the word used for non-Jews.  There are enough real problems without people thinking that a word is an insult when it is not. 

Insert the word 'jew" in your quotations in place of "goyim"............

Would Jews consider it an "insult"?


If anywhere in official Catholic holy writ some theologian proposed "Even the best of the Jews should be killed" we wouldn't be having this conversation .
To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die. There is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time, and betrayal.
--- Alexander Solzhenitsyn


"Wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it, and right is right even if nobody is doing it."
-St. Augustine Doctor of the Church

In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
George Orwell

There is no limit to investigating the truth; until you discover it.
- Cicero

JayneK

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2010, 12:12:am »
If anywhere in official Catholic holy writ some theologian proposed "Even the best of the Jews should be killed" we wouldn't be having this conversation .

Some people have said that all Jews should be killed.  Those who took exception to this proposal did not object on the grounds that the word "Jew" is an insult. 

"This conversation" is my attempt to clear up a misunderstanding about what a word means.  I am having difficulty seeing the relevance of your comments.
ADORABLE Saviour, consider my many wants, and grant me those graces which Thou knowest I stand in need of to do Thy will in all things.

Iuvenalis

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2010, 01:45:am »
If anywhere in official Catholic holy writ some theologian proposed "Even the best of the Jews should be killed" we wouldn't be having this conversation .

Some people have said that all Jews should be killed.  Those who took exception to this proposal did not object on the grounds that the word "Jew" is an insult. 

"This conversation" is my attempt to clear up a misunderstanding about what a word means.  I am having difficulty seeing the relevance of your comments.


She's a smart one she is Alaric. This new one is not to be trifled with.

I'm glad to hear another person put off by the bizarro jew obsession I've seen on here from several people *cough*
"It is questionable whether the proper functions of Catholics is to hunt down, "expose" and condemn Catholics they suspect of undue rigidity, disobedience or "material schism"; especially while giving support to a Vatican ecumenical campaign which addresses heretics and actual Schismatics as "separated brethren", Jews as "people of the covenant" and Muslims as "people of God". This is part of the overall contradiction (or inconsistency) that permeates the "conservative" mentality. Cloaked in a pledged loyalty to all things "whatsoever" emanating from the Holy See, many "conservatives" will go beyond the measures taken by the Church leaders, or even disagree with their actual positions. The Hawaii "excommunications" were an obvious example but others can be seen. "Conservatives" denounce as "Schismatic" all those who set foot in SSPX chapels while the Vatican embraces the Schismatics in China. "Conservatives" deny any significant change at the Second Vatican Council while the Pope celebrates the enormity and impact of the changes. "Conservatives" seek the conversion of the Eastern "Orthodox" while the Vatican promises not to "proselytize" them. "Conservatives" deride American bishops while the Pope appoints and promotes the same ones." -Peter Miller


"Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society When an immoral society has blatantly and proudly violated all the commandments, it insists upon one last virtue, tolerance for its immorality. It will not tolerate condemnation of its perversions. It creates a whole new world in which only the intolerant critic of intolerable evil is evil." -H. Gibson

(5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) ≠ 722,500

QuisUtDeus

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Re: The meaning of the word "goyim"
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2010, 04:30:am »
I don't find "goyim" insulting.  It means non-Jew or Gentile to me.  We have words for non-Catholics:  heretics, schismatics, infidels, etc.

Kill the goyim is offensive, so is kill the infidel.   But I don't see what is offensive about "goyim".  In fact, it appears in the Bible if Wikipedia is to be believed:

Quote
In the Torah/Hebrew Bible, goy and its variants appear over 550 times in reference to Israelites and to Gentile nations. The first recorded usage of goy occurs in Genesis 10:5 and applies innocuously to non-Israelite nations. The first mention in relation to the Israelites comes in Genesis 12:2, when God promises Abraham that his descendants will form a goy gadol ("great nation"). While the earlier books of the Hebrew Bible often use goy to describe the Israelites, the later ones tend to apply the term to other nations.

Some Bible translations leave the word Goyim untranslated and treat it as the proper name of a country in Genesis 14:1. Bible commentaries suggest that the term may refer to Gutium.[2] The "King of Goyim" was Tidal.

There's enough stuff in the Talmud to be offended over; making mountains out of molehills does not help and makes people look foolish.  The problem is what is said about "goyim" in parts of the Talmud, not the word itself.