Many tallitot have the bracha before putting on the tallit written on the atarah. But as you can see in the picture below, the Name of Hashem is abbreviated as a 'ד when it is usually rendered 'ה. The point of the abbreviation is so that the tallit can be discarded without a problem of disposing a Divine Name.

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Since 'ה is already an abbreviation to avoid using the Tetragrammaton, why do they use a 'ד when 'ה already has no holiness associated with it?

  • Dalet = 4 = 4 letters in yud-key-vav-key? Or because it is the letter before Hey so the "closest" replacement? – mbloch Nov 30 '17 at 17:03
  • @mbloch The hey already has no kedushah, so why use a daled? – ezra Nov 30 '17 at 17:09
  • @mbloch, so why isn't dalet used everywhere rather than heh? Why two abbreviations? Is dalet used anywhere else? There must be something unique to a tallit... – Maurice Mizrahi Nov 30 '17 at 17:10
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    Pretty sure we have this question already, but I can't find it. – msh210 Nov 30 '17 at 19:56
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    are you sure it is a dalet and not a hey without the leg (or that it could have been at some point before evolving into a proper dalet)? – rosends Nov 30 '17 at 20:57

I asked a rosh yeshiva. His answer was that a tallit was special in that people sometimes enter toilets with it (by mistake). As such, for zehirut (carefulness), one uses the letter Dalet so as not to enter with something that has even a letter from God's name.

Beyond this, to recap from comments above (which might get deleted at some point), MY users have suggested a few other possibilities

  • Dalet = 4 = 4 letters in yud-key-vav-key (mbloch)
  • A connection with the word "deus" (god) in Latin and its counterparts in Romance languages. Extra feature that ה itself has some sanctity, thus one can avoid its desecration by using ד (Kazi bácsi)
  • the Daled from "Adonai" (DanF)
  • a Hey without the leg (rosends)
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  • The problem here is that if you accept that heh' has even a shred of holiness in it, then you can't do anything you want with something that has a heh' on it -- which defeats the purpose of using just heh' for God's name. – Maurice Mizrahi Dec 5 '17 at 16:41
  • Well maybe that is exactly the point of using Dalet. With Dalet you can do anything you want – mbloch Dec 5 '17 at 18:44
  • Its a little like Ladino's Dio, not dios as in spanish which for some strange reason is pluralized. – gamliela Jan 3 '18 at 11:09
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    If we're worried about an abbreviated Hay, wouldn't the "Elokainu" afterwords be more problematic? – Salmononius2 Jul 11 '18 at 11:41
  • @salmon especially because אל is already a full name of God on its own – Double AA Jul 11 '18 at 13:34

Does Wikipedia count as a source?

A reason for this is that the He is used as an abbreviation for HaShem "The Name" and the dalet is used as a non-sacred way of referring to God.

Note, though, that they have a “citation needed” slapped on that sentence.

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