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Why we sometimes substitute “Hashem" and/or "Elokeinu” for the name of G-d


Library » Mitzvot » Prayer » Laws and Customs | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Rabbi Jacobson: Welcome to askmoses. How can I be of help today?

j: Why do we substitute “Hashem Elokeinu” for the name of G-d when we are practicing a blessing or prayer?

Rabbi Jacobson: Because we’re not allowed to say G-d’s Name in vain.

j: Vain? As in not necessary?

j: You mean you can’t say it when you don’t mean it?

Rabbi Jacobson: “Vain” means “for no reason.” G-d’s Names are only to be pronounced in prayer.

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"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
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.