34. Holy and Secular Names

Yesodei HaTorah 6:8

Holy writings and their commentaries may not be actively burned or destroyed. If a person actively did so, he would receive stripes for being rebellious. This rule only applies to texts that written by a Jew with the intention that they should be holy; if a Jewish heretic writes a Torah scroll, it must be burned, God’s Name included. The reason is because the heretical scribe does not believe in the sanctity of God’s Name so he did not write it with proper intentions. Since he considers the Name of God to be the same as any other text, the Names he has written do not become sanctified. It is a mitzvah to burn such a Torah so that no remnant of heretics and their deeds should remain. However, this only applies to Jewish heretics; if a non-Jew writes a Name of God, it should be buried. Similarly, sacred texts that become worn out or that were written by non-Jews should be buried.

Yesodei HaTorah 6:9

All the Names of God found in the section of Abraham are holy, even “My Lord, if I have found favor in Your eyes…” (Genesis 18:3). All the names found in the section of Lot are secular except for “Lot said to them, ‘Please, no, my Lord…’” (Genesis 19:18).

The Names written in the section of Gibeah of Benjamin (end of Judges) are holy. All the names in Micah are secular. All the Names in the section of Naboth (1 Kings chapter 21) are holy. Every “Shlomo” in Shir HaShirim refers to God and is holy except for “You, Shlomo, will have the thousand” (Shir 8:12). Every “king” in the Book of Daniel is secular except for “You are the King, the King of kings” (Dan. 2:37). This reference is treated like any other descriptor for God.