Monday, January 15, 2007

Did you know. . . ?

1. The Tanakh was originally written without any vowels and the Torah scrolls read in the synagogue today also contain only consonants.

2. Without the vowels, Hebrew words could be pronounced in many different ways which can mean different things (just like English, how would you pronounce st?) The reader would know how to pronounce the word and therefore the correct meaning by the context of the surrounding words.

3. When the Hebrew language started to fall into disuse, scribes called Masoretes developed a system in the 6th to 9th century for notating the correct vowels. Masoretes comes from the Hebrew word masoret meaning tradition.

4. The name of God given to Moses at the burning bush consists of four letters Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (known as a tetragrammaton). Because the third commandment prohibits taking the Lord's name in vain, by Jesus' time on earth, no one ever spoke the name of God. Many times in Jewish writing instead of Jehovah (the English representation) you'll see J-H-V-H or you'll see God as G-d.

5. The word Adonai (meaning My Lord) is often used instead of the name of God when reading aloud the Torah.

6. Where the Hebrew text is translated as Adonai Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, it is read as Adonai-Elohim, to avoid repeating the name twice.

7. In ultra-orthodox Jewish congregations even the names of Adonai and Elohim are not used except in very specific religious situations. In some cases the names are intentionally misspelled and mispronounced. For example, Elokim instead of Elohim.

8. Traditional Judaism follows a yearly schedule of weekly Torah readings for each Shabbat (Sabbath, which falls on Saturday) followed by selected portions from the Prophets which have a related theme. This weekly reading is called a parashah. The following site has a really good explanation of these as well as a table detailing the weekly readings. Weekly Torah Readings. There are additional readings that are done for the Jewish Holidays.


Johnny said...

Hello Ang,

The name Jehovah is actually not a name for God, but a protection against saying the name of God. It is literally the name Adonai and YHWH, superimposed to prevent anyone coming across the name YHWH from saying the name.

This was done sometime after the exiles, when the Jews were fearful that their scrolls would be lost and someone may come across them and accidentally say God's name. The reason that it was not acceptable to say God's name came about after the exiles when the Jews began to take a literal rendering of the commandment to not take the Lord' name in vein.

In the 16th century a scholar came across the name "Jehovah" and assumed it was another name for God.

You can read about this at by clicking on articles and typing "Jehovah" in the search block.

You will have to get a membership to read the entire article ($60 per year and worth it), but you'll still get the gist of the article.

In His dust,

Ang said...

Thank you for the clarification Johnny!