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

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 20 18:04:35 BST 2021

From: Tony Zbaraschuk <tzbarasc at lasierra.edu>

"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

Gwynne: There's so many different cultures, over so much time, that the
same term could have several different reasons. Or it can be passed down
through time, with the reason long lost.
There's also the highly personal nature; each person brings their own
interpretation. Several people can use the same term, and it can be a
euphemism, or (for them) the true name, or something learned by rote and
repeated for comfort, or a prayer, or a chat with a friend. It can be several
of those things, at different times, for the one person.
So beyond a certain point, it's not going to achieve much to keep on arguing
about it. Most of the answers here are right, for certain times, cultures and

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list