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Use of the expression ’Todah L’Kail’

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Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Iyyar 15, 5772
Question
It has become a fairly commomm expression among secular Israelis to say ’Todah L’Kail’, using G-d’s name. While their appreciation of Hakadosh Baruch Hu is extremely praiseworthy, I wonder if this is an improper use of His name. I sometimes hear religious Jews use the expression. Could you please respond to this and also discuss the use of Hashem’s names when trying to teach Torah, e.g. how to say a bracha, etc. Thank-you
Answer
The poskim forbade to use Hashem's name in vain as part of expressing our awe for Hashem. This prohibition applies even when Hashem's name is in English, such as "GOD" or any other language. However, if someone praises Hashem in some personal prayer or by saying "Yehi ratzon etc., using Hashem's name is permitted. Therefore, it is permissible to say in Hebrew Todah la-el , the same way it is most common among religious Jews also to say "thank God" or in Yiddish "Gut zai dank" etc. Also, when teaching or learning Torah and one comes upon a Pasuk with Hashem's name one may say it. Similarly, one may say Hashem's name when teaching children to read the Torah or siddur or to say brachot. (שולחן ערוך או"ח רט"ו, ג,חיי אדם כלל ה, ותוספות חיים שם, ס"ק ז, מגן אברהם סי' קפ"ח ס"ק יא ופמ"ג שם, וכן הט"ז סי' תרכא ס"ק ד,חוו״ד ביו״ד סי׳ ק״י, בדיני ספק ספיקא ס״ק כ׳. פס"ת סי' רט"ו. )
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