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Yodh (י), Hei (ה), Vav (ו), Hei (ה)

Since Hebrew is written right-to-left, it is properly rendered as יהוה

The name of god in Hebrew. Usually rendered into Latin characters as YHVH. In some Protestant Christian traditions, YHVH is typically pronounced "jehovah", while most modern scholars, Jewish and otherwise, have settled on "yahweh".

The letters represent the four elements, the Four Worlds in the Tree of Life.

True Name of God

When Jews read from the bible, the Tetragrammaton is never pronounced, it is instead replaced with another name of god called "ah-doh-nye".

Because the Hebrew alphabet includes no vowels, the exact pronunciation of ancient Hebrew is a matter of tradition, and elicits some debate. In ancient Israel, the true name of God was was pronounced only once per year in the Tabernacle's Holy of Holies (during the Exodus) and, later, in the Temple in Jerusalem. This practice ceased during the Babylonian exile, and by the time the Edict of Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Israel and rebuild the temple, the correct pronunciation was apparently lost.

When the bible was translated from Hebrew to Greek (i.e.—the Septuagint), the translator did not know how to translate the Tetragrammaton. So he placed the vowels of ah-doh-nye backward between the letters of yod-heh-vavh-heh. This creates the word "Jehovah" and this creative translation remained in some Christian traditions.

Jehovah is an incorrect rendering of the holy Tetragrammaton[1] and a Kabbalist will always pronounce it yod-heh-vavh-heh.

Respect For The Name

In Jewish cultures the name is almost never spoken, and almost never written down. The Jewish people believe that destroying the name of god is sacrilegious. This also applies to a piece of paper with the Tetragrammaton written down on. So in order to not accidentally have the holy name burned or destroyed, it was almost never write it down, one never knows where a piece of paper will end up and who may defile it.

Fun Facts

Man is created in gods image. If you put the letters of YHVH vertically you get a little man...

י - head
ה - shoulders and arms
ו - body
ה - legs

This appears to be an ancient, magical and holy precursor of ascii art.

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  1. Hebrew Name for God - YHVH. Aug 13, 2012.