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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 19:17:28 -0400 (EDT) Subject: RE: Advisability of Using Elokim in translations There have been alot of discussions on names of God (Thus Scott (v29n01) asked about SHLOMO in Song of Songs and KING in Megilath ester which was answered by Joseph (v29n05). Similarly we have Etan's question from a bell lab computer person on whether it is preferable to change Gods name in computer translations (v28n96 and Harvey's response v29n03). A relevant source for all these questions is a minor tractate called the tractate of SOFRIM. (It can be found in many Gmarrahs after the tractate on Idolatry or Horayoth). This tractace lists many laws about writing Sefer Torahs and related customs. This tractate is also cited by many Rishonim. As an example Joseph Geretz's (correct) explanation of Shavuoth 35b--that Shlomo MEANS God according to the Pshat in Song of Songs while KING means Achashvayrosh in Ester--is more or less mentioned in Sofrim. Returning to the question from the computer programmer: The tractate of Sofrim is clear that the word denoting God should sometimes be translated in a secular fashion. Thus Exodus 22:27 should be translated as "Don't curse a Judge (Elohim) and don't curse a King". It would therefore be a mistake to translate this as ELOKIM. The proper translation is ELOHIM and this word is not sacred (and may be erased!!!). The Tractate Sofrim (or the Rambam, or the Shulchan Aruch) has a complete list of such secular usages of God However the idea of translating the tetragrammaton as HASHEM appears to be a nice idea. Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA rjhendel@juno.com http://www.shamash.org/rashi Moderator Rashi Is Simple