Question:

Is referring to the group “Jehovah’s Witnesses” an issue of saying Shem Havaya? Please explain.

Answer:

Yes it is a serious issue of saying H-shem’s Holy name, and it should not be said. Saying H-shem’s name (Adon…) is not allowed, except when davening or learning. However the special name of H-V- H-A, is a name that we are never allowed to say. This name has no heterim except the kohen Gadol in the Bais Hamikdash on Yom Kippur. This is a serious sin as the Gemorah Sanhedrim 90a says that a person that says this name forfeits his place in the world to come! (A person however can do teshuva for any aveiro).

 

Sources:

Sanhedrin 90a,Tosefos Avodah Zara 18a D:H Hoga, Rosh Yuma 8-19, Chayei Adam 5-27, M:B 5-2. Numerous poskim including R’ Moshe Reich shlit”a, author of Kodesh Lahashem.

It should be noted that although there is discussion regarding saying the name of an avodah zara when you are not referring to the avdah zara itself, such as when saying the name of a city of street named after an avodah zara. The poskim say it is permitted, however it is preferred to say the name in a different way, (see Mishna Halachos 9-169, and Rivivos Efrayim 8-556). Similarly it is permitted to say Lord Jakobson or Elohim Acheirim, because you are not referring to H-shem there. In our case, the name itself says that it is referring to H-shem, therefore it is not permitted. (Heard from Horav Shmuel Felder shlit”a).

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7 Responses to “Saying Jehovah’s Witnesses”

  1. Even though you are not pronouncing correctly by using a “J” ? It should like saying “Kayl”

    • Technically it isn’t the same sound, but it is very similar, and that’s why the “Y” is switched for a “J”, like when people say Judah, of Joseph instead of Yehudah or Yosef.

  2. But if one changes one letter, then it would be OK? So one could say Gedova’s Witnesses?

    • That would be alright, (I’m not sure if anyone will understand what you are saying though).

  3. from torahmusings.com:

    Word origin of Jeho/vah, Rabbi Israel Rubin

    The word Jeho/vah/Yah/weh (with its variations) is of relatively recent Christian origin. Jews never used the term. The fact is that we do not know the original pronunciation of Jeho/vah. We can only surmise. There were no vowels in the Hebrew word of ‘Jeho/vah.’ The absence of vowel marks (consonants only) makes it impossible to determine exact pronunciation. Yah/weh is not correct for Yah/weh contains vowels. At any rate Jews would not dare enunciate that word for its absolute holiness. Instead they pronounced it Adonai which means ‘the Lord.’

    I am told that the divine name occurs almost 7,000 times in Tanach and is spelled (in English) with four consonants—YHWH or JHVH. These four-consonant words are commonly called the Tetragrammaton, or Tetragram, derived from two Greek words meaning “four letters.” Be that as it may, Jeho/vah is an artificial name and does not represent anything in our liturgy. It appears from research that the word Jeho/vah was incorrectly created by a non-Jewish German interpreter with limited knowledge of Hebrew. In truth it is gibberish with no historical import or connotation. On the other hand there are those who maintain that it was not created by a German interpreter. Those who hold that opinion claim that the word goes back to Roman times well before the era of German scholars. The ‘I’ in Latin became ‘J’ in English. In fact many pronounce J as a Y. and V as a W. In which case Jeho/vah and Yah/weh are the same. The goyim erroneously ascribe both these terms to HaShem, and some claim that the name is derived from Jove which relates to Jupiter. But note the timeline! Hebrew came well before the Latin and the Hellenistic Empires, so how is it possible to claim that our Creator was a derivative of “Iupiter”!

    It is a result of Christian misconstruction of the Tetragrammaton, the “Shem HaShem” In Hebrew, the Tetragrammaton is spelled yud, h/ei, vav, h/ei. Hence the transliteration into English with the letters YHVH. But in German, the letter ‘W’ sounds like a ‘v’.
    The result: “Yahweh” in English. ‘Jeho/vah’ is a variation of ‘Yahweh’. Biblical Hebrew alphabet has no corresponding letter to ‘J’ or ‘W’. Consequently both the words Jeho/vah and Yah/weh are not anything. From our standpoint these terms are gibberish

    • With all due respects to the Rabbi who wrote that answer, but we know very well, what the vowels are, the Chayei Adam 5-27 says it very clearly, and it exactly the vowels that this group is saying it. Therefore I can not accept what he is saying. The origin of this word is in Judaism, (with a minor change) and was said in the Bais Hamikdash. Also see Yad Rama Sanhedrin 101b that saying the holy name of H-shem that carries the punishment of forfeiting ones olam haba is specifically when it is said using letters of other languages! (Even though there is a slight nuances of a difference)

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