If two words have the same meaning, then they refer to the same thing.

Linguists (and especially philosophers of language) distinguish between using a word and mentioning a word. If I say 'Fido come here', I use 'Fido' to refer to my dog. In contrast, when I say 'Fido is a common name among dogs', I mention 'Fido' to refer to the word 'Fido'. The referents differ, so the meanings differ.

So if I were to say, "Murray said - and I quote - 'I will be back by five'". My quotation refers to what Murray said, so it doesn't mean what Murray said.

So, if Murray were to use the name of G-d and I were to quote him, I wouldn't use the name of G-d. In quoting him, I would have uttered something homophonic (like the two meanings of orange) with the name of G-d.

Similarly, if I wanted to write a computer program that searches for uses of the name of G-d and censors them (or rendered them acceptable), I'd need to mention the name of G-d in my code.

Lastly, suppose I have a friend whose name is a homophone of the name of G-d (e.g. this man), would I be permitted to refer to him by name?

In sum: Is it ever acceptable to utter a word that is indistinguishable from the name of G-d?


1 Answer 1


While the meaning of HaShem is sung in "Adon Olam", The-Pronounciation of HaShem ההוגה את השם based on the opinion of Abba Shaul אַבָּא שָׁאוּל in [Sanhedrin 10.1] is prohibited ( אַבָּא שָׁאוּל אוֹמֵר, אַף הַהוֹגֶה אֶת הַשֵּׁם בְּאוֹתִיּוֹתָיו ) : https://www.sefaria.org/Mishnah_Sanhedrin.10.1?with=all&lang=bi.

Yet Rabbi Avraham Danzig in [Chayei Adam 5:27] claims humans can mask HaShem replacing 'H' with 'K' (קֵא) to ease their conscience when speaking "Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay" : https://www.sefaria.org/Chayei_Adam.5.27?vhe=Chayei_Adam,_Vilna,_1844&lang=bi.

Torah commands vowing : "חַי־יְהֹוָה" to establish truth statements as instructed by Moshe in [Devarim 10:20].

Chizkuni commented on Devarim 10:20 : "If you were to ask that the third commandment of the Ten Commandments had indicated that oaths should be used very sparingly, that is quite true; however, if the need to swear an oath arises you must make sure to swear only by His name."

What happened to Boaz & his reapers after speaking HaShem in [Ruth 2:4]? - Bartenura on [Mishnah Berakhot] noted : "With the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and we do not say that he should treat His (God’s) honor with disrespect in order to honor human beings, to bring forth the name of Heaven upon him, as we learned from Boaz (Ruth 2:4)" : https://www.sefaria.org/Ruth.2.4?ven=Tanakh:_The_Holy_Scriptures,_published_by_JPS&vhe=Miqra_according_to_the_Masorah&with=Bartenura%20on%20Mishnah%20Berakhot|Quoting&lang=bi.

[Berakhot 9:5] states : "The Sages also instituted that one should greet another in the name of God, i.e., one should mention God’s name in his greeting, as it is stated: “And presently Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the harvesters, The Lord is with you,and they said to him, May the Lord bless you” (Ruth 2:4)." - "And lest you say that mentioning God’s name is prohibited, it says: “It is time to work for the Lord; they have made void Your Torah” (Psalms 119:126), i.e.it is occasionally necessary to negate biblical precepts in order to perform God’s will, and greeting another is certainly God’s will." : https://www.sefaria.org/Mishnah_Berakhot.9.5?ven=William_Davidson_Edition_-_English&vhe=Torat_Emet_357&lang=bi

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