September 25, 2008, - 11:41 am

Stylebook: About My Use of the Dash in the Word “G-d”

By Debbie Schlussel
A number of readers ask why I use a hyphen in the word “G-d”. It’s something I’ve explained occasionally on this site, but for new readers, I am happy to explain again.
As a religious Jew who attended a private Jewish elementary school, I was taught by my parents and teachers never to use the name G-d in vain. In that light, we were always taught never to write out the full name, whether in Hebrew or English. We were always taught to use hyphens or dashes and/or abreviations.
That’s why I spell the word “G-d”. Rest assured, it’s entirely out of respect–NOT diminution or denigration–for the omniscient, monotheistic power greater than us all.

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8 Responses

Debbie,
while I agree with your position, G-d is His title, not His name. You know His name, which, out of respect, I never write, type and rarely say.

Klaatu on September 25, 2008 at 12:14 pm

For those who are interested, here is a Bible lesson for you.
God’s real name is spelled “YHWH”. That’s as he gave it to Moses, in Hebrew.
But in ancient Herbew, they didn’t use vowels in their writing. You need to pick that up by context. So there is some confusion about how God’s name is pronounced.
“YahWeH” is one spelling, pronounced “Yaw-way”.
“YeHoVah” is another, more English version, pronounced “Jeh-hoe-vah”.
For me, His name is Jesus, God come down as a man, as our passover lamb. The rose of Charon. The bright and the morning star. Prince of Peace. The lily of the valley. Emmanual, God with us…
I know him as the Revealer of Secrets in the Book of Revelation because every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. On judgment day, every secret will be made known. Please live your life accordingly.

GOLDENMIKE4393 on September 25, 2008 at 12:45 pm

[For me, His name is Jesus, God come down as a man, as our passover lamb. The rose of Charon. The bright and the morning star. Prince of Peace. The lily of the valley. Emmanual, God with us...
Posted by: GOLDENMIKE4393]
Jesus is the bright and morning star? Isn’t that like saying Jesus is Lucifer? :P
And btw, Emmanuel and Jesus are two different names. The use of Emmanuel in the gospels was a way to connect the name of Jesus to prior biblical prophecy. It’s a sham!
And Deb,
Just type G-O-D. You’re not going to be struck by lightening and you don’t have to explain this again.

Norman Blitzer on September 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm

o k i get the g-d thing but why do they wear the funny hats ??i will have to wach the movie again??

drew on September 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Thanks for the explanation Debbie. It was useful to many Christians and non-Christians who don’t understand what G-d means. I knew what it meant, but always spelled God as God.
To Norman Blitzer the mozzlem: Maybe you can ask mozlems to spell “allah” or “profitable mohammed” without the PUBH or PBHU whatever it means. Hopefully you won’t be struck by lightning or someone’s knife. Don’t you know that Lucifer took a new form called profet “pedo” mohammed and allah was his messenger (or the other way round).

anonymous twit on September 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm

There is also a rule when it comes to pronouncing G-d’s name in Hebrew. We do not say it unless we are praying. We do not say it when we are learning from the Bible. We substitute something that translates into English as “the Name”.
There are some exceptions to this (like when one is practicing to read from the Bible so they will be able to read it in front of the congregation during a service), but for the most part the rule holds.

I_am_me on September 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Dear Debbie:
As you know, I’m not much of a theologian. But my understanding is that we don’t spell out Gd’s name (I prefer to leave the hyphen out because it’s less typing and I’m lazy) in a medium that will get destroyed.
Gd’s name is spelled out in every prayer book I’ve ever used. That is why (I think) we do not destroy prayer books but rather archive them in some manner. (We usually kept the old ones under the Synagogue stage.)
Anyway, that’s my understanding.
Hey! I get razzed about it too.
Regards,
TINSC

There is NO Santa Claus on September 25, 2008 at 5:15 pm

I generally have been taught in Jewish day school as well to spell G-d with the dash. I do feel it is consistant in that we don’t write the hebrew name of G-d either nor do we pronounce it.
Point taken that if you do write it in the hebrew then the paper or book can’t be discarded because of it.

adam6275 on September 26, 2008 at 12:41 am

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