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When is it permitted to utter the name of G-d?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


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“To fulfill all the words of this Torah, which are written in this scroll, to fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord, your G-d” (Deuteronomy 28:58).

It is forbidden to say G-d's name, unless it is in the context of a blessing, prayer, or some other form of praising G-d.

– When practicing a prayer or blessing, G-d’s names should be omitted. Alternatively, the word “Hashem” (which literally means, “The Name”), is often substituted for G-d’s name.
A parent or teacher may have the children practice prayers or blessings including G-d’s name. In fact, the educator, too, may utter G-d’s name when instructing the children how to say a particular blessing, in order not to confuse the children. [Once again we see the importance of education. G-d allows His holy name to be said “in vain,” for the purpose of educating Jewish children!] 

– This prohibition applies to all languages. It is therefore improper to exclaim “Oh G-d,” or “My G-d!” However, it is permitted, and encouraged, to say “thank G-d,” “G-d willing,” or “with G-d’s help...” Such statements are not considered uttering G-d’s name in vain; to the contrary, they are glorifications of His name.

– One should not utter G-d’s name when in a bathroom, shower house, or when naked.

– One who is reading verses from the Torah may say the names of G-d’s which appear in the text.

– One who inadvertently says G-d’s name in vain – for example, if one mistakenly recites a blessing, or recites a wrong blessing – should immediately say the Baruch Shem (“Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever).


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Using G-d's name in vain

Posted by: Pat Themaras, North Miami, Florida on Apr 05, 2005

People need to pass on to friends how important it is not to use the L-rd's name in vain because I hear so many of my friends doing it without giving it a second thought. As good Jews it is our place to bring it to their attention so that they correct this bad habit.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
The fifth of the Five Books of Moses. This book is a record of the monologue which Moses spoke to the Israelites in the five weeks prior to his passing.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.