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

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

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Question:

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"?

Answer:

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-
d.

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 Chabad.org.
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Discussion (234)
August 18, 2015
Thank you for clarifying. Now I know.
Anonymous
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?

Peace
Anonymous
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 :-)
Anonymous
May 20, 2015
Bless you for your site
Hi,

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.
Malcom
Tulsa
April 24, 2015
Evidence
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
April 21, 2015
I am agnostic but I respect the beliefs of others. I have found all members of the Jewish community that I have met to be generous, family orientated and non judgement of other beliefs. I like the traditions that I have learned about. I also like the fact they do not try to push their beliefs on other people.

Out of respect to their belief I would always use the same way of referring to G-d. It does not need to be a debate. It does no harm to respect the traditions of any faith that are as harmless as this one.

Shalom
Lisa
West Palm Beach
April 21, 2015
A "recent" tradition?

This tradition dates back at least to the Babylonian exile.

The children of Israel did not, and do not, "discard" sacred texts. We place Bibles and prayerbooks and so on in a coffin and hold a funeral and bury them.

But anything on the internet can be printed out by anyone, who will then discard them in the trash.

King David did not "discard" sacred texts. He, too, set them aside in a Geniza until they could be reverentlhy buried.

There was no need to write this in the scriptures, just as there was no need to explain how to make a get or a mezuzah or tefillin. Everybody knew.

Only in exile did it become necessary to write down these commands that everybody knew.
Malcolm
Tulsa
April 21, 2015
Magic is in a definition.
Just take it easy Michael from Chicago, and don't let words ruffle your feathers. It's all in how one defines "MAGIA"., nothing sleight-of-hand.
Eleazar Shlomo ben Yakov Goldman
San Fancisco, CA
April 16, 2015
I don't buy it.
Who first decided that one must not write God's proper name on a medium that can be discarded? That is not a scriptural idea but a recent tradition. It is no more scriptural than the Amish prohibition against wearing buttons. The scriptures wear out and are discarded yet David, Jeremiah, etc. all wrote God's name. And "God" is not a name but a title. Sorry, but I consider this just a bunch of foolish tradition and not at all pious.
William Ross
Medford
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