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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 (163)
February 25, 2014
lol
"Jewish faith is about getting in touch...without needing any proof. This is not negating intellect -- it is transcending it."

I do agree with this part: "G-d is not a logical concept"
Anonymous
February 7, 2014
G-d
It is a respectful way of acknowledging that God must reveal Himself if we are to know anything about Him. Eric
Eric
Toronto
November 24, 2013
Just turn off your spellcheck. Problem solved!!
Jeffrey Rosen
Long Islan
October 25, 2013
"a being that is thought to be omniscient and omnipotent"
Gd is not "a being".

Gd is ALL there is. Ayn od. There is NOTHING else.

It seems strange that Gd would care if people murder each other. What's it to Him? He's above all that.

If one of us wrote a computer program about "people" shooting at each other, the programmer would not hand those "people" a list of TEN commandments saying not to murder or steal.

But the Creator Whom we serve DOES care what we do and say, and said so. "Do not take the NAME in vain" is one of the TEN commandments, right up there with "No murder," "No stealing," and "No idolatry".

The reason to obey is not fear of "offending" Him. It's because we cherish Him and His Word.

Why does He care what we do? Because He wants us to be happy. He loves us all.

Why?

Go figure.
Inanna
Phoenix
October 25, 2013
The Sioux and the Hopi and the Navajos and many others have their own titles for their deities.
Theoretically, I could examine the beliefs of any group, and then, using MY logic, I could come up with reasons that the group should use some other titles than the ones they actually use.

Then I could go online and tell them that they ought to use the names and titles that _I_ had derived, using _my_ logic, from _my_ interpretation of _their_ beliefs.

But for some reason I do not do this.
In fact, I don't know of anyone who does this nowadays.
(In the past, these various folks were accused of devil worship and were offered the choice of conversion or death, but today people mostly know better than to indulge in such spiritual abuse.)

And yet, even nowadays, people get online and tell the Children of Israel what names and titles they think we ought to use when we worship our Deity, or when we talk or write about our Deity, without realizing that they are indulging in spiritual abuse.

We refer to our Deity as we find respectful. If you can't fathom it, kindly respect it.
Eliezer
Detroit
October 25, 2013
Odd
It seems odd that a being that is thought to be omniscient and omnipotent could be offend by combinations of shapes written by human beings. Just sayin'
dezhkub
September 23, 2013
Dramatic Pause, Then Thought, and Least of All Execution
If I ever wrote about Gd when I didn't know Him; that is when I used God. However, because of that I have this wonderful neural pathway where first I think of The Blessed Be He, as God, but then I pause to think about how I will communicate my idea about G_d to an audience. That pause is crucial to paying respect to G:d, such that I give Him His due respect. The actual way G-d appears in my writing has very little to do with the personal respect I attribute to Him, but rather through permutations of God, anticipating them, and trying for slight randomness before writing Gd with variability gives my brain the kick it needs to continue treating God with the utmost respect. Thus, the written form is not as important as the thought behind it. However, for someone reading this the cryptic nature of my post may cause additional thoughts for the reader that are also beneficial, as it should be clear far beyond a reasonable doubt that I'm trying to show the utmost respect.
Craig Hamilton
Sandwich, MA
September 23, 2013
Discarding A Holy Book
Who would ever imagine a bible de-faced? I saw a bible cut up with its pages folded into a design and called "art" at the public library in Salt Lake City last winter. I brought it to an attendant's attention and called to make a complaint but no one returned my call. It was upsetting to know that perhaps I was the only visitor who viewed this as inappropriate no matter what religion we were. So yes, we need to be careful when writing G-d's name.
Patti Dolman
Thornhill, Ontario
September 12, 2013
Actual Hebrew text

מי שהפקדון אצלו

המלוה שהיה המשכון אצלו נשבע שאין המשכון ברשותו

The text above, starting on the upper right, has the following three words:
MY ShHPQDWN 'TsLW

(The apostrophe signifies a guttural which doesn't occur in English)
The last word on the far left of the 2nd line is as follows:

BRShWTW
Notice that the Hebrew letters are ALL consonants. They lack AEIOU.
A Jew, accustomed to reading his prayers in Hebrew, must realize that ONLY CONSONANTS MATTER. Vowels are almost irrelevant. The word means more or less the same thing regardless of vowels.
This even occurs in English: E.g., sing sang sung song--all about vocal music.

Many prayerbooks add a crutch for the ignorant reader: dots and dashes under the letters suggest the vowel sounds.

However, it's the MOST reverent of us who omit vowels. It's part of the Hebrew language, fundamental to Hebrew culture, most especially when reverently indicating Divine Names or Titles. Even when writing ENGLISH Titles for Gd.
David
Houston
September 11, 2013
I can't prevent you from printing out what I type online.

Not prevent others from throwing the printout into the trash.;

I surely can't require that you treat the printout reverently.

So I don't write any Divine title or name, ever. I "hint" at the intended divinity by writing the consonants, which is all that is written in Hebrew anyway. (The Hebrew alphabet is all consonants.) (Two of those consonants are w, y, and h, which do hint at the vowels "oo" and "ee" and "ah" but most vowels are indicated by dots and dashes which are absent from the Torah scroll.

When I am in possession of a Bible or prayer book or other sacred text, I treat it reverently. I never lay a secular book on top of a Bible. I never take a Bible into the bathroom. I never place it on the floor. And if, Heaven forbid, it accidentally falls, regardless of who dropped it, I pick it up reverently and place it on a table or shelf.
Chana
Houston
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