Thursday, September 01, 2016

"OMG [sic] and Why Jews Got the Message Clearer Than Christians

I see it, I hear it, every day. In texts and on social media: "OMG!"

On the street, in everyday conversations, I hear it: "Oh. My. God!"

And every time? I wince. Why?

Because this is clear violation of the Commandment of the Lord.

"Thou shall not take of the LORD thy God in vain." 

Can't be any clearer.

Did you know that, in Hebrew, there's no word for "person?" And so we use the word "name" instead. (I'm not telling you this so you can show off your knowledge at your next party, by the way.) :-)

So. When you say -- say after finding that dress you've been looking for, or after Brady throws a touchdown, or whatever awes you on Planet Earth -- "Oh my god" (and yes, I put the "g" in lower case, for your benefit) -- you're taking the Name -- the Person! -- of God in vain.

What does "in vain" mean? 

Check out the dictionary! "In vain" means: "without success," or "with no result." "Vain" comes the Latin vanus, which means "empty, without substance." Yes, from the Latin, I said!

So when you casually -- or semi-emotionally  (Sorry, but I can't bring myself to call your favorite haircut, for example, a truly "emotional experience") use the name -- the Person, the Very All Eternal Being -- as if He's an empty nobody?

I get upset.

There's some reparations for this.

When you hear the Holy Name used casually -- in vain -- say to the Lord (or, heck, say it out loud!): "Blessed be His Holy Name!" Or something equally reverent.

Many Jews don't even write the Name of G-D!

They generally write "G-D.  Why?

From Judaism About:
The custom of substituting the word "God" with G-d in English is based on the traditional practice in Jewish law of giving God's Hebrew name a high degree of respect and reverence. Furthermore, when written or printed, it is forbidden to destroy or erase the name of God (and many of the stand-in names used to refer to God). 
There is no prohibition in Jewish law against writing out or erasing the word "God," which is English. However, many Jews have afforded the word "God" with the same level of respect as the Hebrew equivalents detailed below. Because of this, many Jews substitute "God" with "G-d" so that they can erase or dispose of the writing without showing disrespect to God.  
This is relevant especially in the digital age where, although writing God on the internet or computer is not considered a violation of any Jewish law, when one prints a document out and happens to throw it in the garage, it would be a violation of the law. This is one reason most Torah-observant Jews will write G-D even when they aren't intending to print a document out because there is no way of knowing whether someone might eventually print the word out and deface or throw away the document.

So. No matter the reason, Jews and Christians can agree on one thing (actually, we can agree upon many things, and, please Abba, that we may be one!): it's not cool to to vainly, casually, use the Holy Name of God. In prayer? Oh yes! Call on Him always!

But don't use His Holy Name to comment on the skirt you just bought, okay? :-)

May God continue to bless you!