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Why "G‑d" instead of "G-o-d"?

Why "G‑d" instead of "G-o-d"?

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Question:

I came to your site to read up on Ruth. I began reading and when I saw "G‑d" I had to stop. You may consider this harmless in Jewish terms, but anyone coming to this site will probably take this as I did. It is considered damning the very name of G-o-d to leave out the "o". I wish I could concentrate on your articles but every time I try to substitute the word God for G‑d I get totally turned off.

Answer:

Hi, I received your comment and want to explain exactly why we do this. According to Jewish law and tradition, the various names for our Creator are all considered holy and must be treated with the utmost respect. If there is a paper with the name written out in full, then it cannot be thrown away, but actually we take all such papers and bury them properly in the ground and keep them separate from other things (see Proper Disposal of Holy Objects). Clearly many readers print out our material. We cannot have a situation where they read the article and then throw it in the garbage with the word with the "o" as that is disrespecting His holy name. It is therefore traditional to insert the dash so that there is no issue.

Hope this explanation suffices for you.

See also Why Don't You Spell Out G‑d's Name?

Sara Esther Crispe
Editor, TheJewishWoman.org

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the co-director of Interinclusion, a nonprofit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org, and wrote the popular weekly blog Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Yolinda Muller Port Elizabeth July 10, 2017

Sorry, I don't believe your explanation re the spelling of God. I, also, can't read your articles, as I feel by spelling God and leaving out the "o" is disrespect towards our Father. Reply

melinda USA March 29, 2017

but 'God' is referring to the deity of worship- it's not His actual name. all religions worship a god. Saying 'God' is simply referring in general terms to the deity that we worship- but it is not addressing Him directly by name. When speaking specifically about my God i call him by His Tetragrammaton or by His "..eternal name, and this is how I am to be recalled for all generations'" (Exodus 3:14-15) Reply

carol January 14, 2017

Can't accept no "reason" for leaving out the "o"! He is "God" and beside him there is no other! Done here Reply

Levi Jerusalem September 12, 2016

I would prefer to see "Hashem" rather than the hyphenation of a heathen word. Reply

Anonymous New York June 16, 2016

G_d I think that which has no written name should be underscored not subject to rupturing hyphenation. G_D is a unifying force. Consider this. Reply

Anonymous May 13, 2016

why God's name isn't spelled out I found your explanation very helpful and very enlightening. Thank you so very much for responding. Reply

nate April 29, 2016

"According to Jewish law and tradition, the various names for our Creator are all considered holy and must be treated with the utmost respect."

Using G-d in place of God then becomes one of the various names to refer to God, making it the same as using God, rendering the use of G-d instead pointless. Reply

Chrisian Dortmund April 6, 2016

Burying something with the name of God on it, doesn't considered as disrespect?! Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org March 21, 2016

To Peter As mentioned in the article, this is only really an issue for printed material, not digital. So if there is a chance that your email will be printed, it is best to avoid keeping the full spelling in it. Reply

Peter Hong Kong March 19, 2016

So what happens if one receives an email containing the word 'G-d' fully spelled out?

Can one hit the reply button if this will automatically quote the entire received email?

Can one even *delete* the email? Reply

Anonymous Bastard, CA December 29, 2015

In a pledge of alleigence most people are used to saying "under G-o-d," without the dashes of course. Reply

Anonymous December 7, 2015

Not Necissaily required for English! Technically G-d is only for God's name in Hebrew and not in English language per Rabbi counsel. This practice was taken from Jewish traditions however only valid for names written in Hebrews like full of YHWH, Adonai etc.... You can't just copy from some other tradition and start using in other languages. Thanks! Reply

Anonymous Chicago November 22, 2015

What if g-d is within a word like g-dsend? Since I'm not referring to G-d can i write it out? Reply

Anonymous East October 31, 2015

Repect begets respect. Respect God and respect God's creations. Adhere to God, becareful with the advices and make friends with His subjects. Peace will enter our soul. Reply

LeoG Bala Cynwyd August 4, 2015

Except that "God" isn't actually one of God's names. It's an English reference word with as much holiness as "Allah" (do you hyphenate?) or "He Who Must Not Be Named." Reply

Arthur Yanoff August 3, 2015

HASHEM/name G-d is ein sof. along with the other reasons put forth by not spelling out the name, we are not expressing limited form, boundaries. that which is beyond us is beyond us. Both the Ari and the Alter Rebbe understood the difficulty of language . Reply

Anonymous August 3, 2015

It is for the same reason we substitute Adashem and Elokaynu and use the Term Hashem . When referring to the almighty it is simply not done to use Holy and ritual terms in everyday language , and, yes it is purely a matter of respect . Reply

Robert San Jose, CA May 31, 2015

The way I learned it, it had nothing to do with not being able to throw away paper if it was written out (though I can see this is consistent with the respect due), but rather that the name itself is too holy to be spoken (cannot be subjected to and soiled by human (imperfect) lips, etc.) and similarly too holy to be written. It is a recognition and showing of reverence and supreme love to spell it G-d (or G_d, as I was taught) - to remind ourselves and others of this. Reply

Anonymous February 4, 2015

G-d I respect your culture and laws regards this matter, but where I live God is around me all the time. I'm not afraid to say his name or spell his name. And with out question or doubt no-one on this planet is holier than the other. God created me.
He would appreciate his name to be spelt properly I would imagine just like yours and mine. Fair dinkum. Av a good day Luv
Aussie Bob Reply

Deborah Scott Louisiana October 7, 2014

The name God spelled with (-) instead of (o). Thanks for your reply to my question. I really appreciate your enlightening explanation to my question. I'm glad it was done out of respect & reverence for God according to your laws.

Shalom,
Deborah Scott Reply

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