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Due to the fact that we cannot say His ineffable name, I would like to know what are considered ways of referring to Hashem that are loving, close and personal, rather than respectful (not to say that they should be disrespectful of course, ch'v).

All the generally used names I can think of are mainly just highly respectful names:

  • Hashem - "The Name"
  • (Adon-ay - "My Lord", not generally used in speech outside of prayer)
  • HaKadosh Baruch Hu - "The Holy One Blessed Be He"
  • Ribono Shel Olam - "The Master of the World"
  • The Aibishter - "The High One"

All of these names denote high respect, and awe. While it may be said that we have come to say these terms affectionately, in-and-of-themselves, they are not affectionate terms and in fact carry with them a sense of im-personalness and distance. I might imagine that "Elokai" (my God) would be quite affectionate and personal, but we generally aren't allowed to say it (and while it might be possible to prove we can say it, it's still controversial so not an ideal solution)!

Are there any terms found in Tanach or the works of Chazal that are more personal, close and affection in-and-of-themselves? Terms/names that are permissible to use in every day speech of course. If not in Tanach or older works of Chazal, what about newer names that come from various minhagim such as Yiddish or Ladino names etc.?

Thank you.

Sincere apologies in advance if there's a blindingly obvious one that I just haven't thought of. I do that a lot...

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    What about רחמנא?
    – Joel K
    May 21, 2023 at 17:44
  • @JoelK nice one, rachmanus is half way between chesed and gevura so not all the way there. דודי would be a good one if it were commonly used just for Hashem :)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    May 21, 2023 at 18:15
  • Avinu Shebashamayim comes to mind. Is there an equivalent for our Chatan/Kallah relationship? Note this article explains how "Hashem" is affectionate, a bit like saying "dad" aish.com/69739762. The name "E-l" is the name associated with God being kind (Chessed), and might be more permissible to pronounce (especially for sefardim).
    – Rabbi Kaii
    May 21, 2023 at 18:26
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    In Aramaic, the word רחמנא can mean “the loving one”
    – שלום
    May 21, 2023 at 18:37
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    Consider Aili, like in Psalm 22 (I don't like spelling it Eli). Personal, in a tone of direct, yet respectful address. David considered it an appropriate way to address the One.
    – Mike
    May 22, 2023 at 2:47

2 Answers 2

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Answer sketch

First I'd slightly fault the question "that are loving, close and personal, rather than respectful" because בטלה יראה בטלה אהבה When there's no Fear there's no Love! So they don't have to be (so) exclusive and רחמנא לבא בעי The Good Lord, your heart is what He wants, right?

And but especially in context and intent and even nature I'd say the following in your list are especially endearing:

  • Hashem (the Name of Kindness and Grace).
  • Ribbono Shel Olam (Ribboinoi Shel Oilum .. for example this was one of the favorite expressions of Rabbi Nachman z"l in Hitboddedut, sometimes even just going in private and only saying that. Chaney Moharan - section Hitboddedut)

Then we have endearing (and respectful) addresses from lashon Chazal like

  • Hashem Elokeinu W'elokei aboteinu
  • Rachamana

And then how about

  • Abba / Abbale / Tatty / Padre / Father (Rabbi Nachman's advice on Hitboddedut is talk to God in your own language and what you're comfortable with)
  • Or any other way that you would endearingly address a loving/beloved earthly (respected) father
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  • I've always found "Ribono Shel Olam" as a little bit less personal, psychologically. When it's less personal, it feels less affectionate. However, your point about Yirah and Ahava is very good, so I guess my complaint doesn't really stand. Great answer thanks.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Sep 3, 2023 at 13:24
  • @RabbiKaii There's more reasons for it how about "W'ahabta l'ra'akha kamokha Amar R' Akiba zeh klal gadol baTorah" now consider the Acrostic of RSA. Nanach Sep 18, 2023 at 1:31
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To refer to G-d in a loving way is dependent upon the kavana of the person doing the referring. Any of the names you've listed and others can be used in a loving way or in other ways as well. The name itself is not what makes you loving or not.

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  • Even א-ל קנוא ונוקם?
    – shmosel
    May 22, 2023 at 22:00
  • Very interesting example @shmosel as those words are indicative of love for us in various vertlach
    – Rabbi Kaii
    May 22, 2023 at 22:03

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