I've heard in a kabbalah shiur on web yeshiva, if someone says Hashem's name as it's written, either b'shogeg or b'meizid, the person or people that heard must rip their garments as they do when a close relative dies. Where is the source for this, and how is it done?

Also, if someone were to accidentally say Hashem's name as it is written, such as someone becoming religious and learning Hebrew, and the yud in the work sheet is right before a vuv, is this considered b'shogeg pronunciation? is it OK because it's meant to teach them only the letters?

  • 1
    Unless the person is 'blessing' the name, I'm not sure why this would need to be done.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 10:00
  • Can you link to the relevant shiur?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 15:05
  • You ask "how is it done?" but you say "as they do when a close relative dies". So you're asking how it's done when a relative dies?
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 1, 2014 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


I have no idea what the Kabbalistic sources are about this. Here's what I can tell you from "niglah", the "open" sources (i.e. the Talmud).

In II Kings Chapter 18, Assyria is attacking Jerusalem, and Assyria sends a fellow by the name of Ravshakei to convince the Jews to surrender. He says (in Hebrew!) "your God can't save you, He's worthless against Assyria!", and the people hearing him tear their clothing as someone has cursed out the name of God.

The Talmud Sanhedrin 60a discusses this regarding the obligation to tear one's clothing when hearing someone curse the name of God. The context is when the courts are trying someone for the crime of cursing God, at least once in the process, one witness must actually say exactly what he heard -- or else we'd be executing someone without certainty of guilt! Upon hearing the witness' testimony, the judges must rend their garments.

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל השומע אזכרה מפי <העובד כוכבים> {הגוי} אינו חייב לקרוע וא"ת רבשקה ישראל מומר היה ואמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל אין קורעין אלא על שם המיוחד בלבד לאפוקי כינוי דלא ופליגי דרבי חייא בתרוייהו דאמר רבי חייא השומע אזכרה בזמן הזה אינו חייב לקרוע שאם אי אתה אומר כן נתמלא כל הבגד קרעים ממאן אילימא מישראל מי פקירי כולי האי אלא פשיטא <מעובד כוכבים> {מגוי} ואי שם המיוחד מי גמירי אלא לאו בכינוי ושמע מינה בזמן הזה הוא דלא הא מעיקרא חייב שמע מינה:

Said Rabbi Yehuda in the name of Shmuel: if one hears a non-Jew cursing out the name of God, he needs not tear his clothing. What about Ravshake [in the book of Kings]? He was a renegade Jew. And said Rabbi Yehuda in the name of Shmuel, we only tear if hearing the explicit name of God cursed, not any nickname for it [such as "Almighty"]. This argues with Rabbi Chiya, as he said: "one who hears a cursing of the name of God today is not obligated to tear, as otherwise, your clothing would be full of tears!" --Wait, who would be doing the cursing in Rabbi Chiya's quote -- Jews? Do they curse God's name on a regular basis? [No!] Rather, non-Jews. And what name are they using? The explicit name? They don't know it! Rather, a nickname for God. Thus Rabbi Chiya is saying that today, we don't tear clothing upon hearing a non-Jew curse God using a nickname, but long ago we would have.

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