by Rabbi Myer S. Kripke
It is often charged by persons who do not know Judaism directly, that Judaism is limited to laws and practices that have to do with minutiae of food and eating.
A reading of our Sidrah, however, makes clear that spirituality is of prime importance in Judaism.
Of prime importance is the careful use of the name of God. It is carelessly used thousands of times by those who say a Bracha, which includes the name of God.
Our Sidrah demands that God’s name be pronounced only with great care and with great solemnity. Moses is commanded to require the Priests (Kohanim) to use the name of God with great care.
Therefore, it has become usual in Jewish practice to substitute the word “Shem” or “HaShem,” meaning “the Name.”
Thus, except in actual prayer or expression of devotion, Jews use “HaShem,” to void careless and superfluous use of the name of God.