Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Writing 'with God's help' on letters

    From personal letters to business cards to emails, one comes across the Hebrew letters bet-heh or bet- samech-daled in the upper-right corner. They stand for “with God’s help” in Hebrew and Aramaic, respectively b’ezrat Hashem, or biseyata d’Shmaya.

    Beginning any correspondence with a reminder that all we do is possible only with God’s help is certainly a good thing. But there is no mitzvah commanding us to write either b’h or bs’d. A quick survey of various rabbis’ letters reveals that while some did write it, others did not.

    Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wondered why anyone would want to mention God at the beginning of a letter about mundane matters or even gossip.  Some medieval sages began letters with an abbreviation of the declaration, “With the name of God we will do and succeed”. Writing this or other worthy initials at the top of the page is fine if it’s sincerely meant, but not as an empty piety.

Jewish ways

Not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah
Jewish ways

Censoring Aleinu

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Censoring Aleinu
Jewish ways

Veggie cheeseburgers

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Veggie cheeseburgers
Jewish ways

Reading the ketubah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Reading the ketubah
Jewish ways

Reciting psalm 27 in Ellul

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Reciting psalm 27 in Ellul
Jewish ways

Havdalah before Tishah B'av

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Havdalah before Tishah B'av
Jewish ways

Thirteen Attributes

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thirteen Attributes
Jewish ways

Dedicating a new home

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Dedicating a new home
Jewish ways

Spilling wine at Havdalah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Spilling wine at Havdalah