I've seen it written that many chazzanim use "Adoshem" when singing (if not in the davening) as it has the same number of syllables as what they would be saying, namely Ado-noi, but that this is disrespectful, and they should just say "Hashem" instead.

Why is it disrespectful? Does everyone agree with this? What about using "Amonai" ("my Ammonites"?), as is done in the movie Ushpizin? I understand why it was done there (had to sound close to the real thing), but I've since heard a choir use it too.

  • Isnt Adonai itself a substitute for the essential name of g-d (Ya...h)?
    – user4512
    Nov 16, 2013 at 15:57
  • @user4512 No. They are both names of God. We just use one instead of the other.
    – Double AA
    Nov 16, 2013 at 23:05

2 Answers 2


The source for the statement that it's disrespectful is Taz, Orach Chaim 621:2 (and from there in Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:3). He writes:

ועוד יש ללמוד מדברים הנזכרים כאן דבמקום שאין אנו רוצים להזכיר שם של אדנות י"ל השם, ולא כמ"ש המון עם אדושם, כי אין זה דרך כבוד של מעלה, אלא י"ל כלשון התנא השם

So it sounds like he's saying that the only acceptable substitute is "Hashem," as found in the Mishnah (Yoma 3:8, 4:2, 6:2) and in the Yom Kippur Avodah. If I understand his reasoning correctly, the point is that the substitute word itself has to somehow express respect for the Divine Name, as "Hashem" does (since it means "the Name [which we are not allowed to say in this context]." By contrast, a word like "Adoshem," while it avoids the problem of saying G-d's Name in vain, isn't a respectful substitute, since it has no meaning.

According to that, then, "Amonai" might also be problematic.

  • 2
    Actually, I was told that the reasoning of the Taz for why "Adoshem" is disrespectful is because it sounds like you are about to say Hashems's name and at the last moment one veers off to Shem. Sort of a "tease" issue. This could possibly not apply to "Amonai", but your explanation also makes a lot of sense.
    – Yahu
    Sep 6, 2010 at 0:23
  • 3
    Could be. That might fit with Rabbeinu Chananel's opinion (cited in Tosafos to Shevuos 35a s.v. באלף, and from there in Rema, Yoreh De'ah 276:10) that the letters א and ד (of Hashem's name) have kedushah to the extent that they can't be erased, unlike שד from ש-ד-י or צב from צ-ב-א-ו-ת.
    – Alex
    Sep 6, 2010 at 2:14
  • 1
    What about just saying G-d?
    – Seth J
    Feb 29, 2012 at 23:54
  • I mean in general speech.
    – Seth J
    Feb 29, 2012 at 23:54

In this recording (starting approximately at 11:25, and again starting at approximately 12:55) you can hear R. Joseph Ber Soloveitchik say "Adoshem" in place of God's name when reading a Scriptural verse. This would presumably indicate that he did not find this problematic.

In another recently surfaced recording of R. Soloveitchik, in this case a lecture at the 1963 RCA Conference, he also uses "Adoshem" as a substitute for God's name when reciting a Scriptural verse. You can hear it this video at about 8:50 in, and another couple of times over the next 30 or so seconds.

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