Question: I’ve always sung zemiros on Shabbos, pronouncing Hashem’s name properly, though often hear others who don’t. Is it better to say kel, Elokeinu and Hashem instead of the actual names?
Answer: The Gemara (Megilla 12b) records that Rava said, ‘On Shabbos, the Jews eat, drink and say Torah and praises’. Sefer Chasidim (271) writes that singing zemiros on Shabbos is a mitzva.
R’ Yaakov Emden (Siddur Bais Yaakov, Zemiros Leil Shabbos) writes that the words of the zemiros are all based on Tenach, Gemara and Midrash, etc. and singing them brings goodness to the world.
While there is a prohibition to say Hashem’s name in vain (Temura 3b) even in English (Mishna Berura 215:19), when giving respect to Hashem, however, it is permitted. Thus, saying Hashem’s name in zemiros would be permitted (Biur Halacha 188; Piskei Teshuvos 215:18).
R’ Chaim Volozhin (Orchos Chaim 94) writes that the Vilna Gaon did not sing Tzur Mishelo as it contains much of the same content as bentching. Thus, while most don’t follow this practice, some choose not to mention Hashem’s name. Like other Zemiros, however, Tzur Mishelo was composed in rhyme with Hashem’s name at the end of each stanza. Evidently, it was the composer’s intention that Hashem’s name is mentioned properly.יבנה המקדש עיר ציון תמלא, ושם נשיר שיר חדש וברננה נעלה.