Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:3) writes that one shouldn't say Hashem's name except by way of praise or blessing whenever required, or when learning (Torah) [see this answer and this question ]

Indeed, Minhag HaOlam seems to follow this, so this is why people refrain from saying Hashem's Name like it is correctly spelled.

Now the Rambam writes: Yesodei HaTorah 6:2

There are seven names [for G-d]:

a) The name which is written Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey. This is [referred to as G-d's] explicit name and is [also] written Alef-Daled-Nun-Yud.

b) [The name] El;

c) [The name] Elo'ah;

d) [The name] Elohim;

e) [The name] Elohai;

f) [The name] Shaddai;

g) [The name] Tz'vaot;

... and from what I've seen, people are particular to say

Elokim instead of Elo-him and Kel instead of E-l

but what about Shaddai or Tz'vaot?

Do these two names fall into the above cited custom to avoid saying Hashem's name in general conversation?

If so, what is the popular method of mispronouncing these names among those with this custom?

  • How they should be said? Well, you could try Shabbai, Shaccai, Shaffai, Shaggai, Shahhai etc.
    – Double AA
    Jan 9, 2013 at 21:46
  • Hey, it's a serious question, don't make a mockery of this!
    – Danield
    Jan 9, 2013 at 21:47
  • I'm sure it is a serious question! But why would you expect there to be an official way of mispronouncing something? Any mispronunciation is a mispronunciation. Are you asking what is the most popular mispronunciation? Are you looking for examples of mispronunciations known to have been utilized by certain Rabbis?
    – Double AA
    Jan 9, 2013 at 21:49
  • Well, my first question was must it be mispronounced like the other names... but if it does need to be mispronounced then ...well yes, I suppose I'd like to know the 'accepted' mispronounciation. [possibly coined by particlar Rabbanim?]
    – Danield
    Jan 9, 2013 at 21:53
  • 4
    Generally, I've heard a 'K' inserted in the middle letter like in other names of G-d: Shakkai, Tzevakot.
    – Seth J
    Jan 9, 2013 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


The title and body of the question seem to be different, but:

Based on Avot D'Rebbi Natan chapter 34, the Kesset HaSofer (second edition) 11:5 (Also written by R' Gansfried) brings a list of 10 Names of G-d that one may not erase. In addition to the names listed in the question, he adds the following 2 names:

  • Y-ah
  • E-hyey

These names may not be erased because they refer to G-d himself, and not to his actions/attributes (as is apparent from the second half of the paragraph in the Kesset HaSofer). This then, seems to be the general rule. If the name refers to G-d himself it is forbidden to erase it.

If we say that any name that is forbidden to erase is also forbidden to pronounce, then these 10 names would be forbidden to pronounce. [Note that the prohibition against erasing Names is learned from a different verse (Kesset HaSofer 11:1) than the verses which teach us not to pronounce G-d's names (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:3)]

With regards to pronouncing words, note the Kaf HaChayim mentioned in this answer, who says that the Arizal wouldn't even say the letters of G-d's name as it was written, but would instead break it up. As I pointed out in the comment, the Kaf HaChayim doesn't say to say Kay, but that seems to be the way I always heard it growing up (may be Chabad specific). So much so that in the new Kehot Siddur, the instructions are that it is to be pronounced "‪Pronounced "Yud Kay b'Vov Kay.‬‬"

Besides that, I haven't seen a written source that instructs G-d's names to be altered with a Kay, but that seems to be way I always heard it growing up. so this is the way we always pronounced it:

  • E-l == Kel

  • Elo-ah == Elokah

  • Elo-him == Elokim

  • Elo-hai == Elokai

  • Sha-ddai == Shakkai

  • Tz-vaot == Tzevakot

  • Y-ah == Kah

  • E-hyeh == I don't seem to remember people pronouncing this one Ekyeh (perhaps because the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 276:9) only brings this as a possible name that may not be erased), but the Kaf Hachaim explicitly brings this as a name the AriZal would alter, even when spelling.

  • Y-H-V--H == in Chabad, this is pronounced Havayeh. Hashem is also used.

  • A-D-ON-AI == in Chabad, this is pronounced Ad'nai. Hashem is also used.

Here's an example, a song composed by Chabad Chassidim in honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's 79th birthday (see here for background information), using verses from Tehillim Chapter 80. Verses 2 and 20 were used.

Verse 20 starts " יְהֹוָ-ה אֱלֹהִ-ים צְבָא-וֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ" and is pronounced in the song as Hashem Elokim Tzevakos Hashiveinu. You can hear a rendition of the song here.

  • 1
    "Y-H and V-H" in my (American modern Orthodox) experience pronounced either "Hashem" or "Yod-Kay-Vav-Kay" or "Yod-Hey and Vav-Hey". The only ones I haven't heard on your list are "Ad'nai" (which I've heard only as "HaShem"), "Ekyeh" and "Shakkai" - the last two possibly due to their relative rarity. Aug 27, 2013 at 0:14
  • @CharlesKoppelman So it is OK, as far as you learned, to say two adjacent letters of Havaya without interruption (e.g. a maqef, a geresh or a "v'") in between?
    – SAH
    Sep 14, 2018 at 12:01
  • @CharlesKoppelman I believed I learned it is not, which is why we separate yud-key and vov-key and maybe key-vov in names, words, etc. (though this makes me wonder how, if at all, one may recite the alef-beys)
    – SAH
    Sep 14, 2018 at 12:02

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