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WHY IS IT THAT JEWS DO NOT WRITE THE NAME OF G-D




WHY IS IT THAT JEWS DO NOT WRITE THE NAME OF G-D?
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Is there any people so smart on earth to create for themselves such laws? Be watchful therefore and do the ordinances; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, that when they hear all these statutes, they shall say: 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' And what existing nation is there so great to have such statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this Torah, which I have given to you in your presence this day? Now to better understand how great this is; investigate (ask / enquire) starting from earlier days of creation, from a distant past, before your lifetime, from the day that G-d created the human being upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, check to see, has there ever been any such thing as this great thing, or has there ever been heard anything like this? Deut 4:6-8; 32 

1.  This is a very interesting question. Many non-Jews at some point ask this question. It might surprise some people but there is no actual commandment about not writing the Names of G-d. However, based on Deuteronomy 12 and on Leviticus 22 there are couple of commandments about not destroying the name of G-d or not bringing shame to His name. It is clearly understood for us that HaShem does not want His name to be treated in the same ways we treat the names of the false pagan gods. HaShem has commanded us to destroy the establishments of the false gods, to demolish their places of worship, their altars for sacrifices, their idols, and He commanded clearly to destroy their names completely from those places. However, HaShem said, “You should not do so to the Lord your G-d”.  

“And you shall break down the altars of the foreign (false) gods, and shall dash them in pieces. You shall destroy their pillars, and burn their Asherim (poles) with fire; and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods; and you shall destroy their name out of that place. You shall not do so unto the LORD your G-d**. Deut 12:3-4 ; And you shall not profane My holy name; but I should be sanctified (hallowed) among the children of Israel: I am the Lord who sanctifies you".  Leviticus 22:32


SO THEN WHY DON’T JEWS WRITE THE NAMES OF G-D?

2.  Simply because anything that is written can be erased, deleted or destroyed by someone. Therefore by not writing the names, we are preventing their desecration, G-d forbid. It is self-evident to us, the more we study the Torah, and grow in our avodat Hashem (Service of G-d); and the more we endeavour to keep G-d's commandments, to love and fear and to walk in His righteous path, we understand that the name of G-d should be treated with the utmost respect, Rav Yosef Mizrachi says, G-d is not our high school pal, He is not to be treated lightly; whether with our lips mentioning His names all day long in all our mundane and insignificant conversations, or in all our erasable writing. If the names of G-d is written in any piece of paper, that piece of paper should be protected, it cannot be simply thrown into the waste basket or garbage, neither destroyed. G-d has many names in the Bible and all those names should be protected from desecration. 

3.  Although this prohibition of not writing the names are mostly true only in actual Hebrew spelling of the names, most observant Jews will not dare writing the names in any language, specially on a solid surface or paper. The best way to prevent the desecration of the Names is simply not writing it at all, so that they will not be discarded disrespectfully by those that are either ignorant by fact or by arrogance. Destroying the names of G-d is considered a chillul Hashem.

WHAT IS A CHILLUL HASHEM? 

4.  Chillul haShem means "desecration of the Name", in other words the desecration of the names of G-d. This term is used when referring to any act or behaviour that casts shame or brings disrepute to belief in G-d, any aspect of the Torah's teachings, Jewish law, or the Jewish community.

5.  Any behaviour or action that disgraces, harms or shames G-d and His Torah, or  His commandments, Statutes, ordinances is regarded as desecration of G-d's name, or a Chillul Hashem. Every sin a person does is Chillul Hashem. As mentioned above the source for this Mitzvah (commandment) is found in  Leviticus 22:32: "Ve Lo-Techallelu - And you shall not profane My holy name; but I should be sanctified (hallowed) among the children of Israel: I am the Lord who sanctifies you".

6.  Examples of people who desecrate the Name of G-d, someone who is a mehalel shabbat ("desecrates" shabbat) or someone who desecrate it in public, someone who refuse to obey the commandment about kosher eating, someone who steals, someone who practise lashon hara ("evil tongue"), etc.


KIDDUSH HASHEM
7.  Kiddush Hashem on the other hand means sanctification of Hashem; therefore, any action that brings honour, respect, and glory to G-d. Kiddush Hashem is also often used to mean religious martyrdom. The obligation to refrain from desecration of Hashem, or from profaning His name are numbered amongst the 613 commandments clearly enumerated in the written Torah. But Kiddush Hashem could sometimes mean saving or rescue a piece of paper containing the name of G-d.

a)
Not damaging the reputation of Hashem is to be taken very seriously, and those who care not to desecrate the Name of G-d are blessed, and those people go out of their way sometimes to save the honour of the name or rescued materials containing the divine Name could merit to see great miracles performed for them, there is the story of a devout Jewish woman who was going through a very difficult time. Her husband and her had recently had a baby, everything was fine with the baby until one day, he started to cry non-stop at night when the time came to sleep could not sleep, they tried everything they could to calm the baby down but without success.

They were desperate after many sleepless nights, one day the woman was walking back home from doing some errands, and she saw a piece of paper with Torah verses containing the Divine Name, being a woman that have the fear of heaven in her, she decided to rescued the honour of the Name of the King, but as she was about to grab the paper, the wind blew it away further from her; she ran risking her life in a perilous manoeuvre to grab that piece of paper, and finally she got it.

Then after she got home and found her crying baby as always, not knowing what to do, as a quick reflex she placed the piece of paper under the pillow of the baby and immediately, he calmed down and felt asleep.

And that night the baby slept until morning, and the day went by peacefully, and the next night no more cry after several days she really realized what has happened, Hashem has transformed that cursed into a blessing for that pious couple. One act of Kiddush Hashem has given her the merit to obtain a miracle.



THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAMES
8.  Jews do not use names in the same ways the non-Jewish world do. Names are not simply arbitrary designations, nor are they the results of random combination of sounds. Name convey, nature and essence of the beings or things that are named. There is more to names than the simple sound of their spelling, they could represent history, reputation, acknowledgment and thanksgiving to G-d.

9.  When Moshe (Moses) asked G-d about His "name". Moses was not simply asking "what should I call You;" but he was actually asking G-d "who are you; what are you like; what have you done"; or “what is Your reputation”. Things which became very clear deduced from G-d's response back to Moses. G-d replied to him that He will always be whoever He will be eternally, and that being the G-d of the forefathers, He needed to act on behalf of Israel for His reputation was on the line. As the G-d of our Forefathers; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He has seen our affliction which He foreknew and had the plan to redeem us from bondage, for His word was also on the line. Ex. 3:13-22

10.  Obviously G-d cares about His reputation, which explains the above – mentioned commandements about chillul Ha-Shem and kiddush Ha-Shem, and the profanation of the name. This is regarded very seriously, it is an act that causes G-d or Judaism to come into disrespect. It is also obvious that we are not talking about a harm done to a word; we are talking about harming the reputation of the divine.

11.  Another great example about how G-d cares about His reputation is found in Ezekiel 36, He clearly says that He is concern about the profanation of His Name and reputation. Someone might ask, how can anyone dirty G-d’s reputation? Well, as we read in Ezekiel 36, “and when the Jews have arrived in the nations where they were taken captive, wherever they went, G-d's Holy Name was profaned. How? Simply because people are saying about the Jews: “Look these are the people of the LORD G-d, so if they are His people, how come they have been kicked out of His land?”

12.  Because Hashem has pity for His holy name, which has been dirty by the fact that the house of Israel has been sent away into the nations, where they went. He will gather all the Jews, and He says: “Therefore say unto the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord G-D: I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations, where you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord G-D, when I shall be sanctified (clean) in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. Ezekiel 36:20-24

13.  It is important to know that this prohibition against erasing, deleting or defacing the Names of G-d applies only to Names that are written in some kind of permanent form, like paper and recent rabbinical decisions have held that writing on a computer is not a permanent form. Therefore, it is not a violation as such to type the Names of G-d into a computer and then backspace over it or cut and paste it, or copy and delete files with G-d's Name in them. However, once you print the document out, it becomes a permanent form. That is why observant Jews avoid writing a Name of G-d on websites like this one or in Text messages: because there is a risk that someone else will print it out and deface it.

14.  Normally, we avoid writing the Names by substituting letters or syllables, for example, writing "G-d" instead of "G o d" In addition, the number 15, which would ordinarily be written in Hebrew as Yud-Heh (10-5), is normally written as Tet-Vav (9-6), because Yud-Heh is one of the Names of G-d in Hebrew.


PRONOUNCING THE NAME OF G-D
15.  Nothing in the Torah prohibits a person from pronouncing the Name of G-d. Indeed, it is evident from scripture that G-d's Name was pronounced routinely. Many common Hebrew names contain "Yah" or "Yahu," part of G-d's four-letter Name. The Name was pronounced as part of daily services in the Temple.

16.  The Mishnah confirms that there was no prohibition against pronouncing The Name in ancient times. In fact, the Mishnah recommends using G-d's Name as a routine greeting to a fellow Jew. Berakhot 9:5. However, by the time of the Talmud, it was the custom to use substitute Names for G-d. Some rabbis asserted that a person who pronounces Y-H-V-H according to its letters (instead of using a substitute) has no place in the World to Come, and should be put to death. Instead of pronouncing the four-letter Name, we usually substitute the Name "Adonai” which means Lord, or simply say "Ha-Shem" which literally means “The Name”.

17.  Although the prohibition on pronunciation applies only to the four-letter Name, Jews customarily do not pronounce any of G-d's many Names except in prayer or study. The usual practice is to substitute letters or syllables, so that Adonai becomes Adoshem or Ha-Shem, Elohaynu and Elohim become Elokaynu and Elokim, etc.

18.  With the destruction of the Temple and with the prohibition on pronouncing The Name outside of the Temple, the real pronunciation of the Name fell into disuse. Scholars passed down knowledge of the correct pronunciation of Y-H-V-H for many generations, but eventually the correct pronunciation was lost, and we no longer know it with any certainty today. We do not know what vowels were used, or even whether the Hebrew letter “Vav” in the Name was a vowel or a consonant. See Hebrew Alphabet for more information about the difficulties in pronouncing Hebrew. Some religious scholars suggest that the Name was pronounced "Yah-weh," but others do not find this pronunciation particularly persuasive.



WRONG USE OF THE DIVINE NAME

19.  Christian scholars render the four-letter Name as "Jehovah," but this pronunciation is particularly unlikely. The word "Jehovah" comes from the fact that ancient Jewish texts used to put the vowels of the Name "Adonai" (the usual substitute for Y-H-V-H) under the consonants of Y-H-V-H to remind people not to pronounce Y-H-V-H as written. A sixteenth century German Christian scribe, while transliterating the Bible into Latin for the Pope, wrote the Name out as it appeared in his texts, with the consonants of Y-H-V-H and the vowels of Adonai, and came up with the word JeHoVaH, and the name stuck.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Deuteronomy 4:6-8; 32;  12:3-4, Leviticus 22:32; Exodus 3:13-22

Ezekiel 36:20-24;  Berakhot 9:5; THE JEWISH LIBRARY -  JUDAISM 101

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