We say “Adonai”
For the unpronounceable

In last week’s reading, when Moses asked, God gave the name “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh“, the meaning of which is unclear. As Va-eira begins we find (not for the first time) another name for God, this one said to be unpronounceable. It’s spelled “Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey” and we call it the tetragrammaton. When this name is encountered in scripture or prayer we say “Adonai” or “The Lord”

The word “tetragrammaton” is hard enough to pronounce, but it’s also a perfect “penta-syllabic” haiku word!

Exodus 6:3
“I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them by My name יהוה.

Image by P. Vasiliadis via Wikimedia Commons


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