In late August,I took a job in a school that is part of the largest virtual charter school chain in the nation. While I had misgivings about the nature of the school, I thought perhaps if I were diligent, I could serve my students well.
The Significance of Names In Jewish thought, a name is not merely an arbitrary designation, a random combination of sounds. The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named. This is not as strange or unfamiliar a concept as it may seem at first glance.
In English, we often refer to a person's reputation as his "good name. The Hebrew concept of a name is very similar to these ideas. An example of this usage occurs in Ex. Moses asks God what His "name" is. Moses is not asking "what should I call you;" rather, he is asking "who are you; what are you like; what have you done.
God replies that He is eternal, that He is the God of our ancestors, that He has seen our affliction and will redeem us from bondage. Another example of this usage is the concepts of chillul Ha-Shem and kiddush Ha-Shem.
An act that causes God or Judaism to come into disrespect or a commandment to be disobeyed is often referred to as "chillul Ha-Shem," profanation of The Name. Clearly, we are not talking about a harm done to a word; we are talking about harm to a reputation.
Likewise, any deed that increases the respect accorded to God or Judaism is referred to as "kiddush Ha-Shem," sanctification of The Name. Because a name represents the reputation of the thing named, a name should be treated with the same respect as the thing's reputation.
For this reason, God's Names, in all of their forms, are treated with enormous respect and reverence in Judaism. I always found this odd, because Judaism clearly recognizes the existence of a Name for God; in fact, we have many Names for God.
Linguistically, it is related to the Hebrew root Heh-Yod-Heh to beand reflects the fact that God's existence is eternal. In scripture, this Name is used when discussing God's relation with human beings, and when emphasizing his qualities of lovingkindness and mercy. The first Name used for God in scripture is Elohim.
In form, the word is a masculine plural of a word that looks feminine in the singular Eloha. The same word or, according to Maimonides, a homonym of it is used to refer to princes, judges, other gods, and other powerful beings. This Name is used in scripture when emphasizing God's might, His creative power, and his attributes of justice and rulership.
God is also known as El Shaddai. This Name is usually translated as "God Almighty," however, the derivation of the word "Shaddai" is not known. According to some views, it is derived from the root meaning "to heap benefits.
The name Shaddai is the one written on the mezuzah scroll. This Name is normally translated as "Lord of Hosts. The Name refers to God's leadership and sovereignty.
Interestingly, this Name is rarely used in scripture. It never appears in the Torah i. It appears primarily in the prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, as well as many times in the Psalms. This practice does not come from the commandment not to take the Lord's Name in vain, as many suppose.
In Jewish thought, that commandment refers solely to oath-taking, and is a prohibition against swearing by God's Name falsely or frivolously the word normally translated as "in vain" literally means "for falsehood".
Judaism does not prohibit writing the Name of God per se; it prohibits only erasing or defacing a Name of God. However, observant Jews avoid writing any Name of God casually because of the risk that the written Name might later be defaced, obliterated or destroyed accidentally or by one who does not know better.
The commandment not to erase or deface the name of God comes from Deut.[ — Darcy Bedortha (high-school English teacher with a Ph.D) has recently been a teacher in K12, Inc. Her article is an expose´on what really happens in a K12, Inc. which is a virtual school. New York Film Academy offers degrees, courses and workshops in acting, film, photography and more.
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