Use of G-D in article about the Jewish High Holidays

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Torah
A reader asked about the use of G-D in the recent article about the Jewish High Holidays.
As a non-Jew, I read your article today about the High Holidays with great interest, and was very disappointed to see that the name “God” was not spelled out, but rather with a dash in place of the letter “o.” 
Is there an editorial policy to abbreviate certain words? There’s an abundance of reporting in the SAN on various religious observations and it’s the first time I’ve observed a reluctance to spell a whole word, not the least of which is such an important one to many people.

I asked Rabbi Sadya Davidoff  of Chabad of Shoreline, a division of the worldwide Chabad Lubavitch movement, to respond.

The reason for the Hyphen is because the Torah (Jewish bible) prohibits us from writing or pronouncing G-D’s name unless it is said for a prayer or blessing. Jews are prohibited from saying or writing G-D’s name in vain.

Also, any text which does write the name using the letter O instead of a hyphen, is a document which cannot be discarded of in a regular trash can. It needs to be treated with respect as it has G-D’s name on it.

Here is an article with some more background

Thank you to the reader for asking and to Rabbi Sadya Davidoff for his explanation.

--Diane Hettrick


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