At the top of some Jewish documents is the three-letter acronym bet samech dalet, with quotes between the final two letters. This is sometimes written in English as BS"D.
This stands for the Aramaic phrase b'siyata de'Shemaya, meaning "with the help of Heaven".
The acronym is written at the top of documents as a remind to the writer and reader that without God's help we can do nothing of eternal value.
The phrase and acronym were not in use in Ancient Israel. They are more recent parts of Jewish culture.
Our congregation's scholarly research has been unable to determine when this phrase, or its acronym, were first used. It may have been as early as the first century, for the intent of the message was taught then.
For example, in James 4:13-16 we read:
|Come now, those who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, and we will spend one year there, and we will trade and will make a profit." Which of you knows tomorrow? For what is your life? For it is a mist, which appears for a little and then disappears. Instead say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." But now you boast in your presumptions. All such boasting is evil.|
Yeshua also taught about this dependence on God. For example, in John 15:5 he says:
|I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, is who brings forth much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.|
Clearly we can do many things by our own strength and plans; but without Adonai we cannot do anything with eternal effect and value.
The custom of using this acronym is cute, and reminds us of an important truth. It is certainly never required. It is one of many aspects of Jewish culture that may or may not be helpful in our walk with Adonai.
Our congregation's website puts the acronym at the top of its its welcome page, but not on the other web pages. We assume people usually print the essays and dance choreographies but not our welcome page. It seemed a balanced approach to use בס"ד once as people enter our website, then henceforth avoid potential confusion for people unfamiliar with this custom who might think their web brower or printer are doing something funny.