[LMB] OT: Religion and one-up-manship, 7/17

Tony Zbaraschuk tzbarasc at lasierra.edu
Tue Jul 20 14:07:19 BST 2021

On Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 6:08 PM Harvey Fishman <fishman at panix.com> wrote:

> Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: Religion and one-up-manship, 7/17
> I was taught that The Tetragrammaton was never to be literally
> pronounced. I say Adonai instead. I thought that Elohim translated to
> The Lord rather than His name.

"Elohim" translates to "God" generally.
"Adonai", "Lord" is a euphemism for YHWH, the Name of God.  (The Third
Commandment forbids misuse of YHWH's name, and at some point the rabbis
decided that if you never actually spoke the Name you couldn't mis-use it,
so one uses an alternate but respectful title.)  Out of respect, writings
bearing the Name were supposed to be left alone rather than destroyed
(since destroying a piece of writing bearing the name of God is either
disrespect or mis-use.)  So if you write it as "G-d" or something similar,
when it gets destroyed you aren't destroying the Name itself.

Some Jews use "ha-Shem", "the Name" as a euphemism for the euphemism.  One
of these days someone will probably come up with a euphemism for the
euphemism for the euphemism.

Tony Z

Tony Zbaraschuk
Bookworm, talker, learner
Et vocavit Deus, "Fiat lux!"

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