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G7. Treating God as Holy by Proclaiming Him Holy and by Not Profaning His Name.    [Make a Comment]

We are to treat God as holy by proclaiming Him holy, by being holy and by not profaning His Name.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Exodus 20:7
You are not to use lightly the name of ADONAI your God, because ADONAI will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.

Exodus 22:27(28) (Maimonides RN60)
You are not to curse God, and you are not to curse a leader of your people.

Leviticus 11:44-45
For I am ADONAI your God; therefore, consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy; and do not defile yourselves with any kind of swarming creature that moves along the ground. For I am ADONAI, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.

Leviticus 18:21 (Maimonides RN63; Chinuch C295)
You are not to let any of your children be sacrificed to Molekh, thereby profaning the name of your God; I am ADONAI.

Leviticus 19:2
Speak to the entire community of Isra'el; tell them, 'You people are to be holy because I, ADONAI your God, am holy.

Leviticus 19:12 (Maimonides RN63, Chinuch C295)
Do not swear by my name falsely, which would be profaning the name of your God; I am ADONAI.

Leviticus 22:32-33 (Maimonides RP9, RN63; Meir MP5, MN155; Chinuch C295, C296)
You are not to profane my holy name; on the contrary, I am to be regarded as holy among the people of Isra'el; I am ADONAI, who makes you holy, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am ADONAI.

Leviticus 24:10-16 (Maimonides RN60; Chinuch C70)
There was a man who was the son of a woman of Isra'el and an Egyptian father. He went out among the people of Isra'el, and this son of a woman of Isra'el had a fight in the camp with a man of Isra'el, in the course of which the son of the woman of Isra'el uttered the Name [[Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh]] in a curse. So they brought him to Moshe. (His mother's name was Shlomit the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) They put him under guard until ADONAI would tell them what to do. ADONAI said to Moshe, "Take the man who cursed outside the camp, have everyone who heard him lay their hands on his head, and have the entire community stone him. Then tell the people of Isra'el, 'Whoever curses his God will bear the consequences of his sin; and whoever blasphemes the name of ADONAI must be put to death; the entire community must stone him. The foreigner as well as the citizen is to be put to death if he blasphemes the Name.'"

Matthew 6:9
You, therefore, pray like this: 'Our Father in heaven! May your Name be kept holy.

Matthew 12:31-32
Because of this, I tell you that people will be forgiven any sin and blasphemy, but blaspheming the Ruach HaKodesh will not be forgiven. One can say something against the Son of Man and be forgiven; but whoever keeps on speaking against the Ruach HaKodesh will never be forgiven, neither in the 'olam hazeh nor in the 'olam haba.

Luke 11:2a
He [Yeshua] said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, May your name be kept holy.

Supportive Scriptures

Isaiah 6:1-3
In the year of King 'Uziyahu's death I saw Adonai sitting on a high, lofty throne! The hem of his robe filled the temple. S'rafim stood over him, each with six wings - two for covering his face, two for covering his feet and two for flying. They were crying out to each other, "More holy than the holiest holiness is ADONAI-Tzva'ot! The whole earth is filled with his glory!"

Psalms 99:9
Exalt ADONAI our God, bow down toward his holy mountain, for ADONAI our God is holy!

1 Peter 1:15-16
On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, "You are to be holy because I am holy."

Revelation 4:8
Each of the four living beings had six wings and was covered with eyes inside and out; and day and night they never stop saying, "Holy, holy, holy is ADONAI, God of heaven's armies the One who was, who is and who is coming!"

Revelation 15:4
ADONAI, who will not fear and glorify your name? because you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed."


This Mitzvah re-formulates two of the traditional taryag mitzvot into a mitzvah having three components. The traditional mitzvot direct us to (1) sanctify God's Name, and (2) not profane God's Name. The components of this re-formulated mitzvah direct us to (1) treat God as holy, (2) proclaim God's holiness, and (3) not profane God's Name. There is logic to linking them in this way. God proclaims His own holiness, and requires that we acknowledge it by being obedient to these three directives. God's holiness encompasses His entire nature that includes His integrity, purity, trustworthiness, goodness, righteousness, justice, compassion, love, and all His other attributes.

There are other ways (in addition to these three) of acknowledging God's holiness, but the key to them all is holding God holy in our hearts and thoughts and reminding ourselves of it regularly. That is the purpose of the third benediction of the Amidah and of the Kedushah - prayers that are a part of most synagogue services.

The third benediction of the Amidah states:1

You are holy and Your Name is holy, and holy ones praise You every day, forever. Blessed are You, Hashem, the Holy God.

And the Kedushah (quoting Isaiah 6:3) states:2

We shall sanctify Your Name in this world, just as they sanctify It in heaven above, as it is written by Your prophet, "And one [angel] will call to another and say: 'Holy, holy, holy is Hashem, Master of Legions, the whole world is filled with His glory.'

And it ends with3

From generation to generation we shall relate Your greatness and for infinite eternities we shall proclaim Your holiness. Your praise, our God, shall not leave our mouth forever and ever, for You O God, are a great and holy King. Blessed are You Hashem, the holy God.

1. Translation: The ArtScroll Siddur, Third Edition, (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Sept. 2006).

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

Classical Commentators

Maimonides', Meir's, and HaChinuch's positive mitzvot RP9, MP5, and C296, respectively, all draw, from Leviticus 22:32, the commandment that we are to sanctify God (or God's Name). Their negative mitzvot RN63, MN155, and C295, respectively, draw from the same Scripture, the commandment that we are not to profane (or desecrate) God's Name. All three commentators say, of their positive mitzvot, that we are to proclaim God to the world and never deny Him - even at the risk of injury or death. We are also to refrain from committing sin (especially sins connected to idolatry), since sin dishonors God and, by inference, denies His holiness.


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