12.0354 name of God may be erased

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 20:38:37 +0000 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 354.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 20:25:32 +0000
From: "David L. Gants" <dgants@english.uga.edu>
Subject: Fwd: I am so relieved

>> From: Tzvee Zahavy <tzvee@zahavy.com>

"Rabbi Puts the Word Out"

(IsraelWire-1/15-09:15-IST) A leading Orthodox rabbi has ruled that the
word "God" may be erased from a computer screen or disk, because the
pixels do not constitute real letters. Rabbi Moshe Shaul Klein published
his ruling this week in a computer magazine aimed at Orthodox Jews,
"Mahsheva Tova." Klein was responding to a question from a reader who was
unsure whether the ban on erasing the variations on the word "God" applied
to computers. The rabbi, prominent in ultra-Orthodox circles in the
Tel-Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, ruled that the letters may be erased.

"The letters on a computer screen are an assemblage of pixels, dots of
light, what have you," said Yosef Hayad, the rabbi's assistant. "Even when
you save it to disk, it's not like you're saving anything more than a
sequence of ones and zeroes," Hayad said. According to Jewish law, printed
matter with the word -- "Elohim" ("God") in Hebrew, and its manifestations
in any other language -- must be stored, or ritually buried.

The existence of the magazine -- a pun that means both "Good Computer"
and "Worthy Thinking" -- reflects the growing incursion of modern
implements into the world of the ultra-Orthodox. (AP)

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