Someone in a Jewish bookstore told me it was but wasn't able to locate the verse. I've always found it odd that the name is written out in texts (with vowels even), but we don't pronounce it. Also odd that my name, Yonatan, includes the name and that's obviously meant for articulation. So, mitzvah or cultural norm or particular interpretation of a commandment?

  • Welcome to MiYodeya John and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Oct 18, 2021 at 13:46
  • 3
    How does Yonathan include YHWH?
    – mbloch
    Oct 18, 2021 at 13:47
  • Can't tell you if it is biblical, but it is definitely a great sin. One who pronounces it doesn't have a part in the world to come. ההוגה את השם באותיותיו אין לו חלק לעולם הבא -סנהדרין (דף צ.). See psak here halachayomit.co.il/he/…
    – Yoreinu
    Oct 18, 2021 at 14:29
  • The printed vowels aren't the real vowels. If you look closely, they mirror the vowels for א-ד-נ-י to hint that that's the word we should say. In some cases for example דברים ג:כד the vowels follow the nikud for אלוקים and in those cases we say אלוקים in its place. In fact the true pronunciation is unknown to us
    – Derdeer
    Oct 18, 2021 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


The biblical source is:

זֶה־שְּׁמִ֣י לְעֹלָ֔ם וְזֶ֥ה זִכְרִ֖י לְדֹ֥ר דֹּֽר--This shall be My name forever, My appellation for all eternity. [Ex. 3:15]

לְעֹלָ֔ם (le-olam--forever) is written without a vav, which means it can be read le-allem -- to hide. This is what Rashi says, quoting Talmud and Midrash:

זה שמי לעלם THIS IS MY NAME FOR EVER — The last word is written without ו (so that it may be read לְעַלֵּם and it would mean “this is My Name which is to be concealed”) to suggest: Conceal it (this Divine Name), so that it shall not be read exactly as it is written (but should be read as אדני; cf. Pesachim 50a; Exodus Rabbah 3:7).

  • Aren't there many other verses with God encouraging us to call him by his name?
    – Aaron
    Oct 20, 2021 at 17:58
  • Aaron--I thought so too and it's primarily what prompted the question. Also, I thought it was important in some strains of Jewish thought/tradition that G-d has an actual name and we don't refer to him with an abstraction. Oct 21, 2021 at 11:29

The non-biblical ban on pronouncing HaShem derived from Sanhedrin 10.1 : "Abba Shaul says: Also included in the exceptions is one who pronounces the ineffable name of God as it is written, with its letters." ( אַבָּא שָׁאוּל אוֹמֵר, אַף הַהוֹגֶה אֶת הַשֵּׁם בְּאוֹתִיּוֹתָיו )


In The Tanakh, swearing "חַי־יְהֹוָ֑ה" established truth statements - as instructed by Moshe in Devarim 10 verse 20 : "You shall fear YHVH, your God, worship Him, and cleave to Him and swear by His-Name (אֶת־יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ תִּירָ֖א אֹת֣וֹ תַֽעֲבֹ֑ד וּב֣וֹ תִדְבָּ֔ק וּבִשְׁמ֖וֹ תִּשָּׁבֵֽעַ)"


  • Don't the commentaries explain that הוגה את השם means to do magic using it? If it was really asur (and I believe it is), we should be able to find a halachic source, like Rambam in Mishne Torah
    – Derdeer
    Oct 18, 2021 at 20:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .