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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 (259)
August 22, 2016
Thank you , Our God is Holy, I am so sorry that even asked the question. My heart leaped for joy when I read your answer. Keep His Name Holy, above all Names. Yours truly
Joann Petty
CARTHAGE
June 1, 2016
I do realize that God is spelled out as God in the Bible, so I figure it that that's the way He prefers it.
Tim
May 31, 2016
You asked why we respect Gd's Name. We told you. You need to accept that.
Gd told the Jews not to take His Name in vain. That means not to write it anywhere but in sacred texts, such as the Bible and the prayerbook, and not to speak it except while praying or reading sacred texts aloud.

You have a right to your opinion even if you disagree with Gd's commandments.

You do not have a right to pretend to be "holier than thou" because you proudly proclaim your eagerness to deface Gd's name. If you write it, you subject it to being erased or defaced or soiled by some stranger on the web who prints it out and, for example, covers it with whiteout or throws the paper in the trash. Or worse. Just because you don't care how the Name is treated, doesn't mean that Jews should not care.
David
Toronto
May 29, 2016
I agree with Katy, besides, those who do deface the name of God are a reminder to us believers that evil always lurks just around the corner and by showing themselves, we can now try to save them.
Larry Klimek
Howell
May 25, 2016
Ahhhhh! No...not falling for that...God is God and putting a little symbol in the middle doesn't seem right! God doesn't mind if we spell out his name!
God bless
Anonymous
Katy
May 12, 2016
I like the o in my God...it fears me more that way. Besides, I have not yet read enough Bible to know that He told us to respect Him...but I have read enough Bible to know that He told us to fear Him. Of course, I'm not sure you don't mean fear? (instead of respect)
Tim
Denver
March 20, 2016
Rafael, below, suggests Gd rather than G-d. Why not, Rabbi Moss? Why bother trying to get around the hyphen? Why not just omit the hyphen? Hebrew letters scarcely include vowels anyway. At worst, someone will think you made a typo, but they will know Who GD is. In fact, in trying to type G-d, you may indeed make a typo and type 0, which looks almost exactly like O. Let's see: O0. The letter is a tiny bit rounder, but unless they are side by side, an 0 looks like an O. So when you type a hyphen you risk typing an 0.

Oh-oh!

Nancy
Oklahoma!
March 20, 2016
Why bother with a dash or underscore? Why not just say Gd? The machine is OK with that.

That is what Hebrew does too: the letters hardly ever include vowels, but only suggest them, as a final HEH suggests that it is preceded by "ah" (and even so, it could be "eh").

In the middle of a word, we must know the Hebrew word and supply the vowels ourselves. In the prayerbook, someone has supplied--UNDER the actual letters--various dots & other tiny marks almost indistinguishable to my elderly eyes. I cannot see the difference between two dots side by side versus a tiny patach-mark. My vocabulary is fewer than 100 words. Unless I know a particular prayer by heart I struggle to sound it out. But people who speak Hebrew can, & do, read the prayer, even for the first time, without the dots that enable ignorant men like me.

Even I can recognize that "Gd" stands for a title of the Master of the Universe (Ribbono shel Olam: a popular Hebrew circumlocution which Isaac, below, neglected).
Eddie
Seattle
March 20, 2016
When trying to type G - d all together on my new phone, it replaces it with the following emoji. ..... :-! So I use G_d (underscore instead of dash) instead.
Anonymous
Here
March 17, 2016
The internet is like real life. If your hard drive is full of good, then it is a holy machine. Treat it with respect. However, if your computer is your way to connect to evil, then it is just filthy junk for discarding.
Craig Hamilton
Sandwich, MA