The Divine Names Of G-d- Part 1
Jan 22, 2019
What Is In A Name?
There is a riddle which asks “what is is something that is yours which other people use more than you?” The answer…. Your NAME.
A name is somewhat contradictory. On the one hand it captures the person, animal or thing which we are identifying. Yet on the other hand the essence of the thing which we are trying to identify remains illusive. The essence or SOUL of the person, animal or item which we are trying to capture is essentially unknowable.
Kabbalah explains that a name is like a shield which contains what is stored inside of it.
How does this work out in terms of the Divine names of G-d?
G-d is called by the Kabbalists “Ain Sof”- unending, or Infinite.
Therefor, there is no real opportunity for us to have a relationship with G-d who is infinite. Unless, he makes himself known to us. In other words, by allowing himself to be limited and discribed via a name, we are able to have a relationship with him and know him via his traits of mercy, discipline, splendor etc.
So the Divine names of G-d allow us to know Him… kind of know him, because we are only aware of a limited and external dimension of his essence.
The Un-erasable Names
The Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Dea’h 287) in the Laws of Scribe writes about how a scribe writes a Torah Scroll, Teffilin, Mezuzah etc.
The Shulchan Aruch writes that there are 7 un erasable names of G-d. On other words, the scribe may not under any circumstance erase these names in the event he wrote any one of them and now needed to erase the name.
What are these Holy names? (Bear in mind that the actual spelling is not used here and the letter Hey & Aleph are replaced with K).
- YKVK - The most infinite of the names of G-d. It is embodies the Sefirah of Tifferet- harmony and balance. The reason being is that Tifferet balances the polar extremes of Chesed and Gevurah. It is therefor the closest we (as mortals) can reach to infinity.
- Kel - Is the name of G-d which is related to the Sefirah of Chesed- benevolence or kindness.
- Eloka - Is also a name which relates to Chesed- kindness.
- Elokim - The name of G-d which relates to judgment and limitation. In the beginning of Genisis the verse says “In the begining, Elokim created the Heaven & Earth”.
- Shakai - Is the name of G-d which comes from the word Dai- to stop. G-d stopped or ceased to expand the world. The Sefirah of Yesod is associated with this Divine name.
- Tzvakot- Means “host”. Hanna, the mother of Samuel was the first to use this name. After her, all of the Prophets used this name in prophesy. The Alter Rebbe explains (Torah Or Vaera) that Tzakot was used in conjunction of YKVK to bring down the prophecy and the word of G-d to the people. Tzvakot relates to the Sefirah of Netzach and Hod.
- Adnai - The Divine name which has to do with most with the physical world. This name relates to the Sefirah of Malchut - Kingship. The verse in Psalms says “Adnai, open up my mouth and let my mouth sing your praise”. 13the Century Kabbalist Rabbi Joesph Gigaltia in Sha’are Orah (Gates of Light) writes that this name is the opening and gateway to all of the other names of G-d. Through this name we perceive the higher realms of holiness and it is impossible to “skip” this first part of the ladder.
According to Kabbalah literature there are 11 names names of G-d which correspond to the 10 Sefirot and Keter.
The 4 additional names are:
- Ekyeh is spelled out in the acronym “I will be who I will be” and relates to Keter and Binah. This verse relates to exile and G-d being there with us in the 4 exiles which started with the exile of Egypt. Bina has to do with the feminine aspect. Often called “the mother”, who is with her children in person or in spirit.
- Kah - Comes from the first part of the Tetragramatan and relates to Chochma. As the first two letters of Havayah, the yud corresponds in particular to chochmah while the hei corresponds in particular to binah, the “two companions that never part.”
- Akvh - Has the acronym ‘the heaven and the earth” and has to do with uniting opposites. The Sefirah which unites opposites is Da’at and Yesod (with Tifferet are part of what Kabbalah calls the middle column). The numerology of this name is 17. The verse says that Joseph was 17 years old when he left his father’s (Jacob’s) house. Therefor, this name relates to Da’at (the masculine part) and to Yesod as well.
- Ehevi - Is a group of four Hebrew letters: alef, hei, vav, yud, which, in addition to serving as consonants, constitute the four vowel-letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. They are thus the spiritual dimension or “soul” of the alef-beit. n addition, they combine to equal 22 thereby implying that in essence they contain within themselves the source of all the 22 powers inherent in the 22 letters of the alef-beit. Often, Ehevi in considered itself to be a Divine Name, a companion Name to Akvah. Akvah represents the “right side” of da’at, the origin of the male principle inherent within da’at, where as Ehevi corresponds to the “left side” of da’at, the origin of the female principle inherent within da’at.
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