The Talmud (Nedarim 10b) says: Do not say "l'Hashem korban" but rather "korban l'Hashem" to avoid [possibly] saying God's name in vain.

Presumably, the fear is that you could collapse and die right after saying God's name, and so (1) will have invoked His name in vain, which is a a sin AND (2) at the time of death, meaning no opportunity for repentance.

(1) Does this imply that one should never begin a sentence with God's name?

(2) Is this why blessings begin with "Baruch atta Hashem", with God's name at the end and not the beginning? (When you address someone, you usually say their name first to get their attention.)

(3) Why do biblical verses get a dispensation? We recite many in liturgy that begin with God's name: Hashem, Hashem, kel rahum vehannun; Hashem oz l'eammo iten, Hashem yevarech et ammo bashalom; Hashem s'fatai tiftach...

  • See the Chulin 91b
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 18:16
  • 2
    Are you talking about the verse ויעבר יהוה על פניו ויקרא יהוה יהוה אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב חסד ואמת? That's one verse and doesn't start with God's name
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 20:11
  • @Dr.Shmuel Are you referring to ישראל מזכירין את השם אחר שתי תיבות וכו׳ ומלאכי השרת אין מזכירין את השם אלא לאחר שלש תיבות? I'm not sure how that's relevant here.
    – DonielF
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 4:12
  • For (3), perhaps you want Gen 24:7, Ex 14:4, 15:3, 15:18, 22:27, Num 14:18, Deut 1:6, 1:10, 1:30, 5:2, 31:3, 32:12, or any of the other over 200 such verses in Tanakh.
    – magicker72
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 3:53
  • My question is: why should a person be punished if they said G-d's name and then involuntary died, unaware of their untimely death? G-d, who is all-knowing would understand the unintentional sin and should be forgiving.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 2:44

2 Answers 2


Hashem Imachem!

Not unless you're an angel. Isn't it that they can't say Hashem's name directly and it's proven by "Kadosh, kadosh kadosh, Hashem Tz'" ? - couldn't find the source. But Yisrael are made to have dominion even over the angels (L. Moharan II:1 Tiku-Memshalah).

And aderaba you even have a mitzvah of saluting your fellow with "Hashem Imachem," [https://www.sefaria.org/Mishnah_Berakhot.9.5?lang=bi](Misnhah Berakhot 9:5) so how could it be never - but to affirm your concern maybe, a greeting isn't what you'd change your mind about unlike your Gemara where Rashi explains he might not finish it and it's not complete; is he bringing an Olah? a Minchah? gotta say what it is.

But as kouty's (imo incorrect) answer suggests if I understand him right, you might be scrupulous and extrapolate this Gemara to say you shouldn't start it with His name if you're concerned you're not going to finish a dibbur, a complete utterance -- but even a one word utterance could be complete depending on the context as his Mishnah Yoma says "Lashem" is a already whole complete [utterance and designation of the Chatat] there because the goat in his right hand already has to be the Korban Lashem.

And regarding Chazal's formulation of berakhot I think it's unlikely that could have been one of the reasons for the formulation because aderaba the halakha is you have to know l'chatchila what berakha you're going to say before you start saying it, so it's unlike the animal that someone could change his mind what it's going to be or try to get out of it.


See Ritba Yoma 39a, but previously read the first Mishna in the fourth chapter of Yoma.

Mishna Yoma fourth chapter (folio 39a)

וְאוֹמֵר, לַיְיָ חַטָּאת. רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר, לֹא הָיָה צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר חַטָּאת, אֶלָּא לַיְיָ. וְהֵן עוֹנִין אַחֲרָיו, בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד:

He said "for g-d Chatat"....


והקשה הר״ר אלחנן ז״ל לת״ק היאך אומר לה׳ חטאת דהא אמרינן בנדרים דלא לימא איניש לה׳ קרבן אלא קרבן לשם דילמ׳ פשע ואמר לה׳ ולא אמר קרבן ונמצא מזכיר שם שמים לבטלה. ותירץ ר״י ז״ל דשאני הכא דגלי קרא דכתיב אשר עלה עליו הגורל לה׳ והדר ועשהו חטאת. א״נ דהתם מדרבנן בעלמא הוא אבל הכא בכהן גדול דזריז ולא פשע. ועוד שהרי יש שם הסגן ואב ב״ד דמדכרי ליה לו'. ועוד נ״ל והוא הנכון דהתם הוא דכי אמר לשם ותו לא איכא שם שמים לבטלה אבל הכא כי לא אמר חטאת ליכא שם שמים לבטלה כי מה שאמר לה׳ הוא סיום הגורל לומר כי מה שעלה בימינו הוא לה׳ וכדברי רבי ישמעאל. אלא שגזרת הכתוב הוא לת״ק שיאמר חטאת ולפי דברי התוספתא אין כהן גדול אומר כן אלא הסגן

The Rabbi Rav Elchanan asks, how is he allowed to say "Lashem Chatat", the Gemara in Nedarim recomens not to say "Lashem Korban" because we are worry he will say "Lashem" and not add "Korban" and therefore the result would be that G-d's name has been said in vain (Nedarim 10.1 And why not say korban laShem? - Lest one say laShem without korban, and thus utter the Divine Name in vain.). And Rabenu Yitschak answered that here is an exception to the rule (in Avodat Yom Hakippurim), the verse tells (Leviticus 16.10) "the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell", and says afterward "and offer him for a sin offering". And he answered a second answer, the Cohen Gadol is zeleous and moreover he is not alone, there are Deputy Hight Priest and the Ministering Family who can remember him if he forgot to say Chatat. And Tosfot (the author is the Mordechai) gives a third answer, the right answer in his opinion, that generally when someone says "Lashem" and no more it is a vain mention of the name of G-d, but here, even if he says "Lashem" and nothing more because the mention of the name of g-d is the end of the lot. As he says that what he take in his right hand is for the g-d, as it is the case for Rabbi Yishmael. The fact that for Tana Kama he needs to say "Chatat" is only a consequence of the verse. …

So, according to the question of Tosfot (and the answers doesn't contradict it), one should never say a sentence beginning by the Name of God.

Regarding the question about verses, obviously, Prophets say what g-d said them to say and there is no prohibition because they pronounce the name of g-d following the order of g-d.

  • 1
    Why is the first word special in this analysis? Would the same logic require that every sentence involving G-d's name be structured so that it were abandoned just after that name it would constitute a meaningful sentence?
    – Chaim
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 23:13
  • It's a proof of a meaningful speaking. And, aside, we are telling about two words sentences in the Gemara nedarim and in the ritba here, you can call it last word. I can add the anyway the more you are far from the beginning, the more you will probably reach a meaningful speaking
    – kouty
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 23:40
  • Not never, but definitely yes if bringing a korban Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 19:32

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