scribal & needle arts

Stitching God’s name(s)


God’s name

Some participants have expressed concern about the propriety of stitching the Tetragrammaton or others of God’s names.

This response comes from Izzy Pludwinski, our resident Sofer STaM:
“The prohibition is against erasing God’s name – not in writing it. . . There is no problem in writing God’s name if done with a purpose. When one writes God’s name when writing STaM one says “This Name I am writing for the sanctity of the Divine Name (Shem Hashem).
שם זה אני כותב לשם קדושת השם
In STaM if one does not say it then the object ( mezuza, tfillin or Sefer Torah) would be invalid. In stitching there is no object to invalidate, but one should have the proper intention.”

The halachic prohibition is against destroying holy objects that contain any of God’s specified names. That is the reason for consigning such items to a geniza, and ultimately burial in sanctified ground.

Stitchers who want to do a 4-verse section that does not contain any sacred names can make that request in their registration application.


Q: What are those “blobs” on the printed design?

A: They indicate places where the width of some letters has been adjusted in order to align both edges of the text, and so should more accurately be called “stretch marks”.
A sofer is allowed to extend or contract 7 specific letters (as indicated by the turquoise squares on your printout) to justify the margins.
In the first line of the example shown, there was no need to adjust any letters; in the second line several letters have been extended in varying lengths.

Treat each square of a “blob” as a regular cross-stitch.