Names of God in Judaism

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Ten Commandments
The name of God used in the Hebrew Bible is the Tetragrammaton YHWH (יהוה‬). It is frequently anglicized as Jehovah and Yahweh and written in most English editions of the Bible as "the Lord" owing to the Jewish tradition viewing the divine name as increasingly too sacred to be uttered. It was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (“My Lord”), which was translated as Kyrios (“Lord”) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Rabbinic Judaism describes seven names which are so holy that, once written, should not be erased: The Tetragrammaton written as YHWH and six others which can be categorized as titles are El ("God"), Eloah ("God"), Elohim ("Gods"), Shaddai ("God Almighty"), Ehyeh, and Tzevaot (" Hosts"). Other names are considered mere epithets or titles reflecting different aspects of God, but chumrah sometimes dictates special care such as the writing of "G-d" instead of "God" in English or saying Ṭēt-Vav (טו, lit. "9-6") instead of Yōd- (יה, lit. "10-5" but also "Jah") for the number fifteen in Hebrew.

The documentary hypothesis proposes that the Torah was compiled from various original sources, two of which (the Jahwist and the Elohist) are named for their usual names for God (YHWH and Elohim respectively).

The seven names of God that, once written, cannot be erased because of their holiness are the Tetragrammaton, El, Elohim, Eloah, Elohai, El Shaddai, and Tzevaot. In addition, the name Jah—because it forms part of the Tetragrammaton—is similarly protected. Rabbi Jose considered "Tzevaot" a common name and Rabbi Ishmael that "Elohim" was. All other names, such as "Merciful", "Gracious" and "Faithful", merely represent attributes that are also common to human beings.

The name of God used most often in the Hebrew Bible is YHWH (י ה ו ה‬), also known as the Tetragrammaton (Greek for "four-letter "). Hebrew is a right-to-left abjad, so the word's letters Yōd, , Vav, are usually taken for consonants and expanded to Yahweh or Jehovah in English.

This page was last edited on 3 May 2018, at 23:37.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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