Erasing "God" on computers is okay

Max More (
Tue, 29 Dec 1998 11:00:06 -0800

Funny thing... I was thinking next year was going to be *1999*, but I suppose it must actually be *999*, at least going by items such as this one:


Erasing 'God' on computers is OK, rabbi rules Copyright 1998 Nando Media
Copyright 1998 Associated Press
BNEI BRAK, Israel (December 29, 1998 12:39 p.m. EST -
A leading Orthodox rabbi has ruled the word "God" can be deleted from a computer screen or disk, because pixels do not constitute real letters.

Rabbi Moshe Shaul Klein published his ruling this week in Mahsheva Tova, a computer magazine aimed at Orthodox Jews.

Klein was responding to a question from a reader who was anxious about 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," the rabbi's assistant, Yossef Hayad explained to The Associated
Press on Tuesday.

"Even when you save it to disk, it's not like you're throwing anything more
than a sequence of ones and zeroes," Hayad said.

According to Jewish law, printed matter with the word - "elohim" 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