Talmud and persecution for Tetragram pronunciation - holy usage

Steven Avery

Facebook - Early Church History Study Group
ørjan Myhre
Emperor Hadrian revived many of the Greeks decrees against the Macabees.
... I have collected hundreds of ancient Hebrew sources mostly from Nehemia Gordon but also Brad Young, Dr.Roy Blizzard, Miles Jones and some others but Nehemia is brilliant he always cite the sources and often the source of the source.


Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God: From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century (2015)
TheTetragrammaton in Jewish Hebrew Mishnaic, Talmudic, Hekalot, and Biblical Texts in Later Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
Robert J. Wilkinson


Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zarah 17b-18a
(story of Rabbi Hanina sentenced to be burned because he used to pronounce the name the way it is written)

They then brought up R. Hanina b. Teradion and asked him, 'Why hast thou occupied thyself with the Torah?'19 He replied, 'Thus the Lord my God commanded me.' At once they sentenced him to be burnt, his wife to be slain, and his daughter to be consigned to a brothel.

(The punishment of being burnt came upon him because he pronounced the Name in its full spelling.1 But how could he do so? Have we not learnt: The following have no portion in the world to come: He who says that the Torah is not from Heaven, or that the resurrection of the dead is not taught in the Torah. Abba Saul says: Also he who pronounces the Name in its full spelling?2 - He did it in the course of practising, as we have learnt: Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations,3 but thou mayest learn [about them] in order to understand and to teach. Why then was he punished? - Because he was pronouncing the Name in public. His wife was punished by being slain, because she did not prevent him [from doing it].

(19) תרי-קבתתרקב a dry measure holding two kabs.
(1) The Hebrew word איד ED, here used as a metonymy for FESTIVITY, means CALAMITY; in the variant spelling עד 'ED it means WITNESS OR TESTIMONY - hence the variation discussed in the Gemara which follows.
(2) Lest any benefit they may derive from these be made by them a cause for rejoicing before their idols on the day of festivity.
(3) The reason for the objection does not therefore exist.


Mishnah, Sanhedrin 101b
(the Takanot because of Hadrianic persecution)

All of the Jewish people, even sinners and those who are liable to be executed with a court-imposed death penalty, have a share in the World-to-Come, as it is stated: “And your people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land forever; the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, for My name to be glorified” (Isaiah 60:21). And these are the exceptions, the people who have no share in the World-to-Come, even when they fulfilled many mitzvot: One who says: There is no resurrection of the dead derived from the Torah, and one who says: The Torah did not originate from Heaven, and an epikoros, who treats Torah scholars and the Torah that they teach with contempt. Rabbi Akiva says: Also included in the exceptions is one who pronounces the ineffable name of God as it is written, with its letters.

Check also


Midrash psalms on Psalms 36.7(8)
(Hadrianic persecution for jews to pronounce the Tetragrammaton)


Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 50a.
(how Gods name will be pronounced in the world to come)

The verse states: “On that day shall the Lord be one and His name one.” The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the word one in this context? Is that to say that now His name is not one?

Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: The World-to-Come is not like this world. In this world, God’s name that is written with the letters yod and heh is read as Adonai, which begins with the letters alef and dalet. God’s name is not pronounced in the same way as it is written. However, in the World-to-Come it will all be one, as God’s name will be both read with the letters yod and heh and written with the letters yod and heh.

Rava thought to expound upon the correct punctuation and enunciation of the name of God during his public lecture before one of the Festivals. A certain old man said to him: The word forever is written in the verse: “This is My name forever [le’olam]” (Exodus 3:15) without the letter vav, such that it can be read le’alem, to conceal, meaning that the name should be concealed.

Rabbi Avina raised a contradiction: It is written in the verse: “This is My name forever,” implying a requirement to conceal the name of God, and in the very next phrase it states: “And this is My memorial unto all generations” (Exodus 3:15), which indicates that the name of God is to be publicized and remembered by all. Rather, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: I, i.e., My name, is not read as I am written. I am written with the letters yod and heh, and I am read with the letters alef and dalet.


Talmud - Rosh Hashanah 18b

R. Aha b. Huna raised an objection [from the following]: ‘On the third of Tishri the mention [of God] in bonds was abolished:24 for the Grecian25 Government had forbidden the mention of God's name26 by the Israelites, and when the Government of the Hasmoneans became strong and defeated them, they ordained that they should mention the name of God even on bonds, and they used to write thus: ‘In the year So and-so of Johanan, High Priest to the Most High God’, and when the Sages heard of it they said, ‘To-morrow this man will pay his debt and the bond will be thrown27 on a dunghill’, and they stopped them, and they made that day a feast day.28

(24) This is a sentence from Megillath Ta'anith, which the Baraitha explains.
(25) I.e., Syrian.
(26) Lit., ‘the name of heaven’. [Cf. Gen. Rab. 11, 4: ‘The Jews were ordered by the Greeks to write on the horn of the ox, "We have no share in the God of Israel"’].
(27) Lit., ‘it is found that the name of heaven is lying about’.
(28) [Geiger, Urschrift, p. 34 places this in the last days of John Hyrcanus when the Pharisees turned against him; Graetz, Geschichte III, 2 p. 572 during the reign of Queen Salome when the Pharisees were in power. For other views, v. Lichtenstein, H, HUCA, pp. 283ff].


Yoma 39b
§ The mishna states that after selecting the two lots, the High Priest places them upon the two goats. Upon placing the lot for God upon the appropriate goat, he says: For God, as a sin-offering. This is just one of the occasions on which he mentions God’s name, as the Sages taught in the Tosefta (Yoma 2:2): The High Priest mentions the name of God ten times on that day: Three times during the first confession; and three times during the second confession, over the bull; and three times when he confesses over the scapegoat to Azazel; and one time with the lots, when placing the lot for God upon the goat.

This section also has the 40 years before 70 AD.

The Sages taught: During the tenure of Shimon HaTzaddik, the lot for God always arose in the High Priest’s right hand; after his death, it occurred only occasionally; but during the forty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, the lot for God did not arise in the High Priest’s right hand at all. So too, the strip of crimson wool that was tied to the head of the goat that was sent to Azazel did not turn white, and the westernmost lamp of the candelabrum did not burn continually.


Yoma 40A

Yoma ii:2

Jerusalem - Joma III:9 -

Good Info


Talmud Kiddushin 71a -
Nehemia Gordon
Sages transmit the four-letter name to their disciples once in a seven-year period
§ The above statement, concerning a matter that the Sages transmitted privately and infrequently, leads the Gemara to teach a similar halakha: Rabba bar bar Ḥana says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The Sages transmit the correct pronunciation of the four-letter name of God to their students once every seven years, and some say twice every seven years. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: It stands to reason in accordance with the one who says that they transmit it once every seven years, as it is written: “This is My name forever [le’olam]” (Exodus 3:15), which is written so that it can be read le’alem, to hide. This indicates that the Divine Name must remain hidden. The Gemara relates: Rava planned to expound and explain the proper way to say the name in a public discourse. A certain elder said to him: It is written so that it can be read le’alem, indicating that it must stay hidden.

Rabbi Avina raised a contradiction: It is written: “This is My name,” indicating that the name as written is that of God; and it is written: “This is My remembrance” (Exodus 3:15), which indicates that it is not God’s actual name but merely a way of remembering His name. The explanation is as follows: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Not as I am written am I pronounced. I am written with the letters yod, heh, vav, heh, while My name is pronounced with the letters alef, dalet, nun, yod.

(continues with 12 and 42 letter name.

Chris Clark


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