Why not write out G-O-D? In books of Torah & Jewish prayer it’s written out

The source of this custom for not-sanctified contexts is Deuteronomy 12:3-4. In verse 3, the Israelites were commanded that when they entered the Land of Canaan, they were to destroy the pagan alters, pillars, idol-trees and idol-statues, and to destroy the NAMES of the idols from that place. Then verse 4 says, “You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d.”

In practical terms, this means in part that we should take precautions so that printings or inscriptions of names of G-d will not come to be “desecrated” – erased, torn, destroyed, or otherwise treated disrespectfully. This applies to a written-out name of the One True G-d in ANY language. Books of scriptures or prayer books are usually treated with proper respect, so it is not a problem to print a name of G-d in its full form in such books. But other types of printings could easily come to be thrown away, so in that case it is best if a name of G-d is not written out completely. Then the real forming of G-d’s name is within our mind, and not on the actual page.

More generally, it is proper to show this respect for G-d’s names in printed form, because it is an expression of the awe and fear of G-d that we should have.

If one has a document that contains a written-out name of G-d or a verse from the Hebrew Bible, and it is no longer needed, it is best to set it aside in a safe place so that it will not be thrown directly into the garbage, etc. When one accumulates a number of such items and they need to be disposed of, it is appropriate to respectfully bury them double-wrapped in plastic if the writing is in the context of Torah.

If pages with a written-out name of G-d (in languages other than Hebrew) are found in secular printed material like a secular newspaper or magazine, they can be double-wrapped (a bag inside a bag) and put into the garbage.

An image on a computer screen has no permanence and is not at all considered to be in the above category of words that are actually written down. Nevertheless, it is pious conduct not to write out G-d’s names fully in electronic files also, if there is a concern that the electronic document might be printed out on paper, etc.

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