Why "G-d"?

Debate on Leonard Cohen's poetry (and novels), both published and unpublished. Song lyrics may also be discussed here.
sirp2000
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Why "G-d"?

Postby sirp2000 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:18 pm

I have never understood why Leonard Cohen replaces God with G-d in his written text.

Can someone kindly explain or interpret this or point me to a thread that discusses this point?

Many thanks and G-d bless you.
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Paula
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby Paula » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:54 pm

I have copied and pasted this answer from a website. We have discussed this a long time ago I will try and find the thread.



As a general rule of thumb, practicing Jews do not write the name God because of the laws delivered by Moses which are found in Deuteronomy 12:3-12:4. In this passage, the Jews are instructed to destroy anything and everything associated with their rival’s gods, and they are not to let this happen to their own God. Writing G-d instead of God is one way to prevent others from destroying the name of God.


Jews interpret the law given by Moses as a prohibition against transcribing the name of God, because they feel that if God is recorded onto a piece of paper, there is the possibility that the name will be disrespected or destroyed in some way. The general concern with writing G-d in its true form is that it might be erased, defaced by being crossed out or scribbled upon, torn, thrown in the trash, or ravaged in some other way. Writing G-d instead of God communicates the writer’s idea effectively, but since G-d is incomplete, there is no risk of defacement. The Jews have other names for their creator besides G-d, including Hashem, YHVH, Elohim, and El Shaddai, which are also not written in their complete form.

There are, however, exceptions to the prohibition of writing God rather than G-d. The Jews believe that on occasion, it is acceptable to write God when there is no likelihood that the written word will be defaced. This includes the written form of God in the Torah, which is the Hebrew Bible, also found in the first five books of the Christian Bible. Writing the name of God is not prohibited when it is done carefully, with foresight and respect.
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sirp2000
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby sirp2000 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:18 pm

Paula, thanks for the trouble you took...........

Another of life's mysteries explained!
Hal E. Lujah
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:11 am

Actually, it is confounding, since the word God is clearly not a name of God, right? I spoke with a highly respected Orthodox rabbi about this and he informed me that you can write God with no problem for this reason. Yet for some reason it is customarily not done, which he believes is a misunderstanding. He is, however, a Lithuanian Jew, which has somewhat different laws than the main Jewry.
the mezuzah is carefully written and is believed to be corrupted and inefficacious if a single letter is miswritten or written in the wrong order. so, the names of God are not written generally, and some of the good ones are not disclosed to the masses as they are considered too powerful. As a Jew I am uncomfortable about having destroyed the names of other gods, but I don't want to be anachronistic and judge the past by the present world of extreme inter-communication.
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Gullivor
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby Gullivor » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:20 am

Question: Why do some Jews spell God, "G-d"?

Answer: God's name is treated with unusual care in Jewish tradition. The divine name, YHWH (spelled with the Hebrew letters yud, hey, vav, hey) is never pronounced. Traditionally, Jews read the word "Adonai" (often translated as "the Lord") whenever reading God's holiest name in Torah or in prayer. However, "Adonai" is not God's name.

Among some traditional Jews, speaking even the word "Adonai" is avoided outside of worship or study. This "stand-in" for God's name is itself replaced by "Ha-Shem" ("The Name"). The practice also has been extended to other Hebrew words associated with God. For example, the Hebrew word "Elohim," which means "God" (the title, not God's name), is pronounced "Elokim" outside of prayer and study.

In recent years, some Jews have carried the practice even further by abstaining from writing the English word "God" and substituting the spelling, "G-d" or "Gd." However, there is no prohibition in Jewish law from writing "God" in any language other than Hebrew. In fact, there is an often repeated story about Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, z"l, one of the foremost authorities of Modern Orthodoxy, who intentionally would write and erase the word "God" (in English) on the blackboard in front of his students at Yeshiva University in order to emphasize the fact this is not prohibited by Jewish law.

Some Reform Jews observe the custom of spelling God as "G-d." Most do not. In any case, it would be inappropriate and opposed to Jewish values to correct or shame a person for keeping this practice if it is done out of respect and reverence for God.

L'Shalom,
Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser

http://judaism.about.com/od/reformjudai ... elling.htm
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mat james
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby mat james » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:40 pm

so, in summary,
(to play it safe, then)

anyone can write the name of god as long as you/he/she misspell it.

One more good reason I became an universal apostate.


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Hal E. Lujah
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:23 pm

Be safe. Misspell everthing.
BlizzardofIce
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby BlizzardofIce » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:42 pm

There are many ways a man can serve his time
MaryB
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby MaryB » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:24 am

Love that bit of levity in this thread!
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby seadove » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:25 pm

From one of the ten commandments states:

Thou shalt not mention my name in vain

Anything outside the study of the Torah is considered "vain".

I too always take care not to mention His name under any cercumstances for fear of vaining his name.

The writing of the name "G-d" has become an internet thingee and it is used out of respect to Him.
Hal E. Lujah
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:08 pm

I still maintain that God is not a name of God and therefore, strictly speaking, is exempt. It is a noun, not a pronoun. I don't know the history of how this started but someone in a rabbinical seminary does I am sure.

We should also refrain from saying things in anger, such as ---damnit. or Jeezuz ---- etc. Even Jeepers Creepers.

You say I take the Name in vain,
I don't even know the Name,
and, if I did, what's it to ya?
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby BlizzardofIce » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:32 pm



Postby seadove on Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:25 am
From one of the ten commandments states:

Thou shalt not mention my name in vain
Where do you find those words?

It's a huge difference from your words to the words I can find:
7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=exodus ... ion=nrsvae

The difference between "to mention" and to "make wrongful use of" makes two different meanings to the commandement, in my head.
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Gullivor
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby Gullivor » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:35 pm

"Do you mean to suggest we don't use spell-check to digest"? :roll:
JessRehearsalRag
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Re: Why "G-d"?

Postby JessRehearsalRag » Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:43 am

Thanks guys. Everytime i google a Leonard Cohen question, I find that it has already been asked and answered by the fine people of these forums. On a side note, this is my first time actually posting here! I took a member name some years ago in order to get presale tickets but I'm new to the forums.

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