The gemara in Shabbos 115b cites a Tosefta seemingly condemning those who publish prayer-books (and amulets) with G-d's name: "...מכאן אמרו כותבי ברכות כשורפי תורה". Nonetheless, it is common practice today of virtually all prayer-book publishers to include G-d's names in their products. Is there a halachik justification for this seemingly unnecessary leniency?

(While not necessarily addressing all the potential halachik issues, many older siddurim often employed e.g. the use of "יי" in place of the Tetragrammaton and used a character that combined the א and ל for other divine names. [My understanding is that the other names were printed as is.] Even this practice seems to have been abandoned by modern publishers of prayer-books.)

An additional potential issue of e.g. printing the Tetragrammaton as written instead of as pronounced is the possibility that those unaware of the rule about pronouncing that name are likely to be misled into violating that halacha. Is there any basis for this potential "michshol" as well? (This leniency was even introduced into the recently published children's picture-siddur of Koren publishing.)

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    Interestingly, you mentioned the michshol. When I was about 4 years old and saw the full name written in a "shtiebel grade" siddur (my school used Siddur Shiloh - very common many years ago) I pronounced the name as it was written, b/c no one ever explained to me otherwise!
    – DanF
    Mar 27, 2015 at 16:28
  • Some siddurim still do print the א and ל as a single character. Tfillat Kol Peh, for example.
    – Scimonster
    Mar 29, 2015 at 9:34
  • @Scimonster, that is likely more problematic than printing Shem Hashem as י–י as most folks these days don't understand that ﭏ is supposed to be א–ל and it's especially weird when you have to put in the nikkud for Elokim:ﭏֱֹ Sep 18, 2015 at 12:01
  • Possible answer: In those days books were written by hand. Tosfos has to be referring to someone who writes by hand the name of Hashem, as opposed to today where we use a printing presses.
    – larry909
    Jul 22, 2019 at 9:08


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