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God, name of in Judaism

God, name of in Judaism. Because of God's exalted nature, his name is sacred. The tetragrammaton is never pronounced, and Adonai (the Lord) or Ha-Shem (the name) is substituted. In the Aramaic targums, the name of God is often translated memra (word). Similarly, euphemisms are used by the rabbis, such as Rahmana (the Merciful), Ha-Makom (the Place) or Ha-Kadosh Barukh Hu (the Holy One, blessed be He). The Kabbalists called God Ein-Sof (the infinite): there is nothing to be said about him, and he can only be known by his Sefirot or emanations which are single facets of his revelation.

According to Jewish law, only the high priest could pronounce the tetragrammaton once a year on the Day of Atonement. The name of God cannot be erased or discarded from any document (see GENIZAH), and it is forbidden to use any of the biblical names of God in a secular context. Among very orthodox Jews, it is even customary to avoid writing God in the vernacular, and G-d is preferred.

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