Do transliterated names of G-d (tetragrammata, adoshem, et c.) cause a book to be shemos?

I have never noticed a traditional Jewish sefer which contains such an example, although most are already shemos due to the Hebrew text.

Edit: what about these names in speech, for example, a certain Christian sect which uses a transliterated tetragrammaton in it's name.

  • See Ginzei Hakodesh by Rabbi Yechezkel Feinhandler, who discusses all the various halachos about sheimos or a more proper term genizah. – Chiddushei Torah Jul 15 '14 at 2:42
  • I'm unfamiliar with this sefer. I should see if I can find it. I recall seeing a question on the Ohr Same'ach Ask the Rabbi section a while ago, if U.S. currency had any "kedusha" since it says "In God we Trust". There were several answers why the answer was, "No" - some humorous. But one of them was more general stating that "Shemos" refers to only Hebrew written items. I'll see if I can locate that or a related article. – DanF Jul 15 '14 at 3:12

There is more than one opinion on this matter. For example:

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik famously wrote GOD on a blackboard and erased it in front of a class to make it clear that it was not a "shem" when it is not Hebrew. I have read this numerous places but you can find it referenced here.

That being said, it could be seen as more respectful to write G-d, especially when the book may be read by people who follow a more stringent opinion. An author would free the reader from having to consider the book shemot. For example, I was dismayed when reading "Boychicks in the Hood" to suddenly come across the four letters of the divine name in Hebrew in the center of one page. It causes mental anguish. Did I read it in the bathroom before I knew its status? What if one of the kids threw it on the floor? Why should the author cause these problems?


Based I what I could glean from an article in Kosher Spirit Magazine even writing G-d's name in English would be considered sheimos.

However, it does point out a few stipulations. For example the spelling G-d with a hyphen has no holiness, while spelling the name without the hyphen does. I would infer from the general rules mentioned in the article that even transliteration of one of G-d's names written on paper would be considered shaimos as well.

  • So, tell me if this seems right, writing out g-d or hashem gives the paper no kedushah, but writing out a transliterated tetragrammaton or shem (ado-shem, elohim, et c. or perhaps even the goyisch transliterations of the the tetagrammaton) makes a paper shemos? – Noach MiFrankfurt Jul 15 '14 at 16:37
  • 1
    @NoachmiFrankfurt - I know that sounds strange, and it surprised me, too. The article has numerous footnotes, and I don't have access to many of those sources, now. Of course, the article doesn't address transliterated names, specifically. My answer is based on the OK's article, which is one opinion, only. It may not be the best or most conclusive one. – DanF Jul 15 '14 at 16:48
  • How does capitalization of G.. effect things? I am referring specifically to discussions about pagan (and other non-monotheistic religions) g..'s. Would spelling that word with lowercase G change things. For that matter, how about the transliteration of the holiest name (Y), L..d, specifically when referring to a political title, such as Lord Rabbi Jonathan Saks? – JJLL Aug 30 '14 at 0:23
  • Hey Dan -- judaism.stackexchange.com/a/44950/5323 ....thanks :) – MTL Aug 31 '14 at 3:09

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