If one were to arrange fridge magnets of letters to spell G-d's name, what are the halachic ramifications of rearranging them (erasing)?

If the magnets were small dots, rather than letters, but were arranged closely so that it still displayed G-d's name, what difference is there to the above?

The former can be likened to writing letters on small pieces of paper, before sticking them down together, and the latter can be likened to the atoms that make up normal handwriting, or a dot matrix printer.

(This question is similar in nature to e-ink.)

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    930913, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for this interesting question! Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 2:44
  • no source, but my instinct is that one shouldn't intentionally spell or scramble G-d's name in magnets, but it's not an issue if either of those things happen. And it would only matter for the Hebrew Yod-Hey and Vav-Hey, and (maybe) Elo-him, not "GOD". Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


In general, with any question about writing and erasing Hashem's name it is useful to check the halachos of writing and erasing on Shabbos, because there is a lot of overlap.

R' Moshe paskens that playing Scrabble on Shabbos is neither writing nor erasing, unless you're actually sticking them in their place like some deluxe sets. In that case he says one should be machmir (although even that is not a clear-cut issur). Accordingly, simply arranging two magnets or dots together in a way that they are not stuck in place would not be an issue for the question of writing Hashem's name. The teshuva is here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=916&pgnum=227

Dots of ink are of course, not comparable, because once used, the ink is stuck permanently in place.

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    Can you prove that the laws of writing on shabbat (which require Melechet Machshevet ~ creative intent) are parallel to those of Shem HaShem (which do not)?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 21:06
  • Valid point. However, see Taz 340:2 who proves this halacha from the Gemara in Shabbos 104b, according to which it appears that it is not possible to call separating the two letters, erasing. It is possible that not everyone agrees to this proof, though his argument is compelling.
    – Dov F
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 21:18
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    @DoubleAA Doesn't it sound like the considerations in question relate exclusively to the ma'aseh and not to the machashava, thus having more to do with the definition of k'siva than with intent? (This would be similar to how we learn out laws of writing a get from writing anything on shabas - e.g. chak tochos.)
    – WAF
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 21:18
  • That t'shuva says (last paragraph) "ולכן לדינא תליא אם יש איזה חבור דקובען הגבאי שלא יזוזו ממקומן יש לאסור כהמג״א ואם אין שום חבור רק שהעמידן אות זה אצל זה לבד אין לאסור". Magnets sound like the former ("שלא יזוזו ממקומן") to me.
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 21:19
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    @WAF It could be that since fridge magnets are definitionaly transient then no real kedusha comes into play even if you tried to mekadesh it. (Note that levels of transience is a perfect example of something that can vary widely between shabbat and here.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 21:40

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