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Why Don't You Spell Out G-d's Name?

Why Don't You Spell Out G-d's Name?



As you know, I'm not a "believer." I am a logical person -- I only believe in things that can be logically proven. But I was just interested: Why do you always write "G-d"?


We do not write G-d's name in a place where it may be discarded or erased. Treating G-d's name with reverence is a way to give respect to G-d. So even though on a computer the name is not really being erased (and perhaps is not really there in the first place), and "G-d" is only an English term used to translate G-d's holy name, it is in keeping with this respect that I write "G-d" in my emails and on-line articles.

This causes problems. No matter how many times I write "G-d", the spell-check on the computer has no idea what I mean. "G-d" is not in its dictionary, and it won't accept it as an addition to the dictionary. So the computer comes up with all types of suggested corrections: Go, Do, G'day. And often half the name ends up on a new line: G-

I guess I shouldn't expect any better. No matter how smart a computer is, certain things are beyond it. How would you program a computer to have respect for G-d's name? It is unreasonable to ask a computer to relate to G-d, because G-d is not a logical concept -- He created intellect, and He cannot be captured by His own creation. A computer is limited to logic, so it can't handle spiritual concepts. Just as a metal-detector will beep when a gun is passed through it, but it cannot pick up a person's thoughts or intentions, intellect can grasp logic and rationale, but it cannot detect the Divine.

But a human is not a computer. Intellect is not where we begin and end. We have a soul that is beyond intellect, and our soul detects G-d because our soul sees G-d.

Jewish faith is about getting in touch with the soul that knows G-d already, without needing any proof. This is not negating intellect -- it is transcending it.

How do you get in touch with your soul? Ask G-d. He'll tell you.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
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Discussion (238)
November 8, 2015
Automatically typing G-d
Go to settings on your iPhone or iPad. Then to Keyboard. Then to Shortcuts. You can add any word or phrase, and then give it a shortcut name. Such as "Good Morning". Name it g m, and it will automatically insert Good Morning without you typing it out. I just tried it with G-d and it works. Haven't tried it on my computer.
October 31, 2015
I have to say we are different but I need to respect your opinion. I read many comments. I find that it is always difficult to say anything straight. Winding and I do feel headache like I am in a car drove through winding road. Anyway, thank you for your explanation.
September 9, 2015
Roger and William. And, thank you Lisa. I much appreciate your tolerance & respect.
Now that the rabbi has explained the basis of our reverence, why do you try to talk us out of it? This is our faith. I avoided writing it, w/o having been told to, at age six..

As said below, the written Torah never gives details. It says "a sign on your hand" & "reminders between your eyes" but not how.. It says "divorce writ" but not how to make it. It says "sukkah," but not what a sukkah is. Details come down orally.

Example: what's an Xmas tree?t It must be an evergreen tree, it has to be conical, it needs to be brought indoors & decorated--everybody knows. It's been handed down orally for centuries.

Observant Jews print the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew in Bibles & prayerbooks and other sacred texts, either without vowels or with the wrong vowels. Modern Jewish scholars often see fit to be "modern" and spell it out in English, or write the four letters, capitalized.

Personally, I write Gd & Lrd. No hyphen.
August 28, 2015
(Bamidbar) > Numbers 6:27, instructs that (His Name) shall be put upon the children of (Yisrael) > Israel, and because of "(that)", He will bless them !...

He did not instruct a "(generic title)" to be placed upon them, such is the word (g-d) !... Shalom
Roger Allen
August 18, 2015
Thank you for clarifying. Now I know.
August 12, 2015
Interpretation and Alternative Terms
Though not "officially" Jewish I use "G_d" to eliminate the use of Providence's name in vain, even if there has been an interpretation. A thought or question is why not do the same with all interpretations or alternative Names used when referring to our Creator?

Alexandria, VA
July 26, 2015
Spell Checker
Words in capitals aren't usually corrected by spell checkers. Mine doesn't or any spell checker I have ever used, Check your spell checkers settings,

Shalom :-)
May 20, 2015
Bless you for your site

I just want to say that your explanation was a blessing to read. Very "logically' put to a logical person with a soul that G-d created. I just found your site today and I have read three pages already that have enlightened me. G-d bless you
Elaine Chandler
Sterling, VA
May 1, 2015
To William from Malcom
Look at the fact of tefillin. The Torah never tells how to make tefillin. Only when we were in exile were the instructions written down. Similarly for how to write a get, for how to build a sukkah, and all the other objects which the Torah commands us to make. I have been taught that these mitzvot were only written down when we were scattered and the sages were being killed in such numbers that it was feared the knowledge would be lost. The same is true of many other mitzvot, such as forbidding us to say, or write, the Divine Name. Later, in a responsa, an authority specifically said to avoid writing down Divine titles in other languages (the letter specified French, as it happens, but English should be as valid as French, n'est pas?)

I am a lay person. An orthodox rabbi who knows his stuff should be able to point you to the sources. I regret that I do not know Aramaic or even Hebrew and can only repeat what I have learned from texts and from rabbis.
April 24, 2015
Malcom, you did not supply any evidence for your assertion that this tradition went back to Babylonian times. Can you please provide a primary source? Also, did this apply to the proper name (tetragrammon) or to the common noun?
William Ross
Medford, MA