Channeling Hashem’s Holy Name

784. Channeling Hashem’s Holy Name

We may not use Hashem’s holy names for secular purposes. Any descriptions that are unique to Hashem, such as Melech Hakavod (Honored King), or L’eila mikol brachasa v’ shirasa ([He is] beyond all the blessings and hymns) may not be ascribed to human beings, such as ministers, kings, judges and the like.

However, some exceptions are made by poskim regarding tzadikim; in certain circumstances, Hashem’sunique descriptive qualities are used to describe certain holy individuals.

Some authorities maintain that we may not use any of Hashem’s holy Names as a mnemonic, such as remembering a particular date with any combination of the letters of Hashem’s Names. Likewise, when writing numbers in gematriya(numerology, i.e., using the s the Hebrew letter alef to equal the value of one; yudequaling the value of ten etc.), we don’t write a yud (10) and a hey (5), rather a tes(9) and a vav (6). (Nor do we write a yud and a vav for 16, but that is a more recent custom, and some posit that it is not connected to the letters of Hashem’s Name, but because of its similarity to to “oy” or “avoi,”which are expressions of woe.)

We may, however, print an acronym of Hashem’s name as a roshei teivos(acronymic device) in a sentence, as the Rambam did in the beginning of his Mishnah Torah, and we may even emphasize the letters. Additionally, we find many well-known sefarim that have Hashem’s name as part of their title, and that is acceptable.

Practical Halacha: One minute a day. By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, shlita, Mara D'asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights.