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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 (221)
February 10, 2015
Remember in Exodus when the river turned to blood? Then Pharaoh's magicians did "the same" with their magical arts. This tells us that "magic" differs from miracles.

The existence of the universe is a miracle, even if you don't believe in Gd. It is amazing that there is anything here at all. Why should there be?

"magic tricks" are not miracles. They are merely tricks. Or, as someone said, "sham". Slight of hand. To fool us.

The universe "fools" us into thinking it has reality on its own, when actually its reality depends, every moment, on being sustained by Gd.

Gd, however, needs nothing to sustain GD. Gd's reality is independent.
Raphi
Breckenridge
January 29, 2015
Sham
Maybe not a sham magician, but HaShem created all the worlds from His/Her word, out of nothing. Now, that is the Supreme "Magical" Act, the Creation of all the Worlds, above and below, incomprehensible to mortal minds.
Eleazar Shlomo
San Francisco
January 28, 2015
Aaron,

I smiled while reading every word. The content is easily understandable and beautifully written. Thank you.
Brandi "Basha" Inocentes
Lancaster California
January 22, 2015
Hello again, Eric
I had no idea that what i said sounded as if Gd were skillful a legerdemain (sp?).

It has long been said that the Torah is the blueprint of the universe. That was based on the old technology. Nowadays it is easier & more logical to think of the Torah as the computer program of the universe. The claim that Gd created the Torah & used it to create the universe would then mean that Gd wrote the computer program and keeps it running constantly and interactively so as to be able to interact with it at will.

If Gd were merely an entity within our universe, Gd would merely be a sort of Superman figure. So I had to adopt the Kabbalistic view of Gd as the only reality, even though I would rather we had an independent reality of my own.

And I love the physical universe. It carries such beauty...the birds, the flowers, even the insects. Consider the honey bee. I'd have liked them to be real too.

But, as Plato would say, having seen what lies outside the cave....

Bless you.
Raphi
Breckenridge
January 20, 2015
Life an Illusion?
Raphi, thank you for your thoughtful and measured response. No offense intended from this end. Just wanted to point out that the G-d is not a sham magician who pulls fake rabbits out of a fake hat.
Eric Cummer
Toronto, Canada
January 19, 2015
To Eric again
Hi again, Eric.
I take life & death seriously.
The fact of our unreality is dismaying. The only reality we can have is through a link with Gd.
Through our link with Gd and the Divine soul within us, we matter, in spite of the universe being an illusion. (I didn't say "just" an illusion. You added the "just".)

GD is the One Whose reality is uncontingent, the One Who absolutely matters.

Thus Gd's sacred Name matters.
Awareness of our own unreality cannot spare us from the inescapable "rigors and horrors of life". Au contraire, our awareness of our unreality (compared to Gd) challenges us to connect with, and to honor, the ONE reality which is Gd, and to Gd's sacred Name. It is vital to honor & appreciate THE reality within which our illusory universe resides.

Gd lovingly sent us here to lift up the sparks of godliness within the magnificent dance of our illusory physical universe. Gd is ALL.

Gd matters, & in honoring GD we too can matter.

Do your (Noachic or Torah) mitzvot.
Raphi
Breckenridge
January 19, 2015
To Eric
Hi. Contrary to your assumption, I am not "marrying" eastern philosophy to the "faith" of the Jews. I came up with it from the realization that each of us has a Divine soul, which is our only link to reality. I should, however, mention that what I attempted to describe is the standard world view in Hasidus and Kabbalah, and has been so for centuries.

Incidentally, Bishop Berkeley also came up with the same idea, which cannot be logically refuted. I have forgotten who was the hero of the anecdote...it may have been Ben Johnson (sp?) who kicked a rock and remarked, "I refute it thus." This was his equivalence to your asking whether the Holocaust was an illusion.

Gd is the only non-contingent reality. Gd created the world out of Gd's own Self. Gd's reality is absolute--i.e., Gd's reality is independent of all else. All other "realiti3w" (incl. the events you mention) are contingent on Gd's maintaining the universe(s).

To attain some reality, do Gd's mitzvot (Noachic or Torah).
Raphi
Breckenridge
January 19, 2015
Is
Raphi, I will ask you what others will be wanting to ask you: "If it is true as you stated in your post 'that you are just an illusion', then what is the basis of your claim that 'your G-d' is real...and not an illusion, too?

I am left wondering why you would want to attempt to marry (what certainly appears to be) the metaphysics of a 'rejectionist' Eastern Philosophy with the historically grounded faith of the Jewish people? Are you asking us to believe that Moses and the People of Israel were not 'really' real? And the Holocaust - an illusion too?

We might feel tempted to take flight from the rigors and horrors of life, and into the hidden recesses of being, but we should know that a practiced denial of life will be of no help to us when we are someday confronted by the terrible reality of the
'otherness' of death.

I come from a Christian-Judeo background. We take the gift of life and the reality of death seriously.
Eric Cummer
Toronto, Canada
January 15, 2015
Renato and other atheists imagine that the reason for belief in Gd is that it must be a "comforting feeling".

It's not a feeling and it's not necessarily comforting. It may be comforting sometimes, or to some people, but knowledge is based on something more than wishful thinking.

I don't "believe in" Gd. I don't even "believe in" the universe. In fact, it would comfort me to believe that the universe is real and that I am real. But, contrary to what comforts me, I am forced to know that the universe is an illusion and therefore I am not real. I desperately want to be real, but I am not. I am part of the illusionary universe.

The same information that made me know that the univese is an illusion, and that therefore I cannot be real either, also tells me that there is only ONE reality.

Gd is the only reality.

Gd's reality does not depend on us or our beliefs. It is you and I and Nietzsche who don't exist.

Do you really imagine this thought to be comforting?

But it is true.
Raphi
Breckenridge
January 15, 2015
When I was six years old, the teacher gave a test on Yom Kippur. Anyone who was absent got a zero on the test. I wrote the teacher a letter. When I finished I realized that my letter would not reach the teacher. Worse than that, she would throw it in the trash. And I had used the word Gd in the letter. I had spelled it out.

I did not know that it was customary to avoid spelling it out. I didn't even know that we are commanded not to take the Name in vain. I just knew I had to protect the sacred Name which I had written from being thrown in the trash. And I still feel that way.

It turns out that millions of us feel that way. We treasure the Name because we love Gd and want to protect His Name from any kind of dishonor. It's not about "fooling" Gd. It's about LOVING Gd.

If others don't love Gd or don't honor Gd or don't believe in Gd, that's their business.

Others' opinions don't give them the right to tell us to stop loving Gd and honoring His Name. Or even His English title.
Hanalah
Houston
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