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Is there a religious problem with typing out the name: "G-o-d"?

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Your question title seems to presuppose an answer! :) –  Isaac Moses Dec 16 '09 at 16:01
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up vote 9 down vote accepted

I recall having learned in the beginning of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that one may not recite gods name in any language when not needed. I suppose the spelling of G-d is an extension of the same idea to writing.

In general. I have a problem with this approach. It seems to me that the term "god" is no different than "Hashem". In fact spelled with a capital or without - it's a generic reference to the idea of a higher power and not reserved for the Jewish god, whereas Hashem is only used for the Jewish god. Therefore, it would seem to me that the use of Hashem should be more guarded.

To me we have two logical choices:

  1. Yud-kay-vav-kay and related hebrew spellings are the true names of god and all others are abstracted references and may be used casually.
  2. An abstracted reference such as those used by non-Jews in foreign languages are still akin to the name of god and therefore their usage should be guarded. By the same logic, any reference to god's name will become eventually become synonymous with god's name like Hashem and we have to stop using that too. I suppose every generation could come up with their own reference until it becomes overused and then it's time to change it again.

I don't have a resolution to this dilemma but I personally find the approach of #1 more consistent with our overall practice.

With regard to it's use on blogs etc. I think we have more leeway. I asked a Rabbi many years ago regarding a recording to VHS of a program on TV where they recited god's name. I was told I could erase the video tape and that such recordings be it video or audio did not have take on any special status. Basically, that K'tiva (writing) involves ink on paper and not magnetic particles that can only be read by special machines and then interpreted into god's name. In fact, at the time, dot matrix printers were the most popular choice for home use, and I learned that they didn't count either, that since you could see the individual dots (early models) that they didn't count as whole letters. I have re-asked that question more recently, and been told that even though a laser printer is a collection of particles, that goes on dry, and is not ink, it is the equivalent and makes whole letter representations.

In short, if we were to extend the kedusha of representations of gods name to the digital medium then we could not enjoy the benefits of something like the Bar Ilan CD/DVD. Any representation on the CD/DVD gets transferred to your computer's RAM and then you couldn't shutdown the program or turn off your computer. Therefore, logically, we can't bestow any special status to the Disc itself either. In the same way, it would seem that however we represent gods name on this blog... unless you're printing it, you don't have to worry.

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Sorry, but 'God' is different to 'Hashem'. 'God' is a translation of Hashem's name and therefore a kiuni (nickname). 'Hashem' isn't. See doseofhalacha.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/god-or-g-d.html –  Zvi Jul 21 at 7:06
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The Shach (Yoreh De'ah 179:11) ruled that "God" spelled in a foreign language does NOT have the status of a "shem" and thus may be erased, lehatkhila. For more information, you can read this article: http://www.shamash.org/lists/scj-faq/HTML/faq/11-03-01.html

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double-aa, thanks for linking to the Sha"Kh. –  Adam Mosheh Mar 25 '12 at 3:07
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For k'tiva, I thought there were two basic categories: 1) H's primary names, in Hebrew 2) Kinnuim, i.e. nicknames, like "Shalom" in Hebrew, or "God" in English. Since G-d would seem to have the same level of nicknamedness as God, there shouldn't be a halakhic difference in actual writing. Perhaps G-d would be more appropriate in typing, where it sounds like all is permitted anyways, but still serves as an allusion to the halakhot of writing, a practice that may be forgotten to the future generations, like grafting and treating skins on Shabbat.

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