What’s in a Name anyway?

Shmuel teaching Torah
Shmuel Teaching Torah

This week’s Torah portion, Vaera (Exodus 6:2-9:35)  begins in a very confusing way…

וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹקים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְקוָק׃

And God (ELO-HIM) spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am YHVH“.

Did you catch that? God, whom the Torah calls ELO-HIM, is speaking to Moses, and telling Moses that He, ELO-HIM is YHVH (the four letter name for God – which many Jews articulate as HaShem).!!!

So is God’s name Elo-him, or YHVH?

The very next verse, in God’s attempt to clarify things only adds to the confusion…

וְאֵרָא אֶל־אַבְרָהָם אֶל־יִצְחָק וְאֶל־יַעֲקֹב בְּקל שַׁקי וּשְׁמִי יְקוָק לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶםוָ

And I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shad-dai, but I did not make Myself known to them by My name YHVH.

So, in the first TWO verses, we have THREE names for God! And as the Torah portion progresses it gets even more confusing.

Aren’t the Jewish People supposed to teach the world about Monotheism, and that there is only ONE true God? Why so many names?

To clear this up, I gave a private webinar on this topic a couple of years ago with source sheets.

It’s worth watching again if you want to understand this week’s Torah portion and all the different names for God.

With blessings from the Galilee!

PS. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!

Rabbi Shmuel Veffer
Founder, Galilee Green
What’s in a Name anyway?

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