« The Satmar Felon And The New (Orthodox) US Attorney General | Main | The Saga Of Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, Ger Hasid and Accused Child Rapist, Continues »

October 22, 2007

A Question On The Abbreviation Of God's Name

A friend wants to know the origin and significance of the abbreviation yud yud, used for God's name in some siddurim (prayer books), as opposed to yud kay vav kay, that is also used.

I told him yud yud is unpronounceable, cannot easily be mistaken for any actual word and, perhaps more importantly to scribes and typesetters, is smaller, being made of fewer letters than yud kay vav kay. And yud is itself the smallest letter physically in the entire alphabet and perhaps the easiest to write.

He rejects this explanation noting there are old sources* that use yud yud. His reasoning is that, if sources from the pre-printing press era used the abbreviation, the reasons I gave cannot be primary.

It occurs to me that the sources he cites are all in print, meaning at some point a printer had to take a manuscript copy, typeset it and run it through a press, so the pre-printing press era sources cited are not actually pre-printing press era unless a manuscript, rather than a printed version, is cited.

Further, it is not clear to me why the reasons I gave are invalidated if the work is handwritten.

Do any of you know the origin of the yud yud abbreviation? If so, or if you have any thoughts on this, please leave them in the comments section below. Thank you.

* He cites from Jastrow, page 576: "Targ. Ps. I, 2 (ed. Lag. 'YHVH'); a. fr. - Y. Sanh. X, 28a top; a. fr. Iinterch. in eds. with 'H')."

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

What's not clear to me is why you feel the need to say "yud kay vav kay". What's wrong with yud hay vav hay? After all, you are only using the Latin alphabet to spell out the sounds of Hebrew letters!

yud yud comes from the triple yud used by the geonim. pirush: it stands for the three yuds of birkas kohanim: yevarechecha etc. pshat i dont know.

It's an old habit, hard to break.

yud yud comes from the triple yud used by the geonim. pirush: it stands for the three yuds of birkas kohanim: yevarechecha etc. pshat i dont know.

What's the source for this?

source for the triple yud explanation is siddur rav saadya gaon. most rishonim used just H' (hey) for Hashem.

How did it go from 3x yud to 2x yud? Is there a source that discusses this?

no idea. but both are heavily used in Kabbalah: http://www.kheper.net/topics/Kabbalah/Name/2.htm

Y.L.HaK. is no source. He's a Sabbatean, you know.

oh, sorry, didnt realise its him. but still, i dont think this is his chiddush.

I told him yud yud is unpronounceable, cannot easily be mistaken for any actual word...

What about "yi, yi?"

I think the question is really why two yods won the Darwinian struggle--since the early source include many varieties of two yods, three yods, two yods and a vav, two yods and another inverted letter, etc., many of these with some kind of diacritic mark--rather than why two yods. You might as well ask why three yods with an inverted nun at the left, which was sometimes used.

I have some old Yiddish letters from my Grandma, and she said that Yud Yud there isn’t Hashem, but Yud Yud there is Ya'arekh Yamim, literally ‘to prolong [your] days’

I recall learning this years ago and the Yud Yud was used to minimize any Issur of improper use or disposal of Yud Hay Vav Hay, even in a Siddur.

(The real issur is of Hashem's actual name, not Elokim, or Yud Yud.)

In the prayer books of Rabbi Saleh J. Mansour, originally from Iraq.
That I seen published in Israel and I assume also books that were published in Iraq:
Yod Hey Vov Hey is printed out and on the inside of the last Hey (which is stretched out)in half size letters are Alef Dalet Nun Yod. The vowel marks are as follows: under the first yod is the vowel that looks like a colon, under the vov is the vowel that looks like a T

ve'asim et shemi betoch benei yisrael. the last letter of benei and the first of yisrael are both yud. yud yud became a cute way of referring to God because that is "betoch". my third grade rabbi told me that explanation and it sounds as good as any other.

I told him yud yud is unpronounceable, cannot easily be mistaken for any actual word...

What about "yi, yi?"

That's exactly what he said. :-))


I think the question is really why two yods won the Darwinian struggle--since the early source include many varieties of two yods, three yods, two yods and a vav, two yods and another inverted letter, etc., many of these with some kind of diacritic mark--rather than why two yods. You might as well ask why three yods with an inverted nun at the left, which was sometimes used.

S – I think you are correct. Thanks!

(The real issur is of Hashem's actual name, not Elokim, or Yud Yud.)

In a blow to the current revisionist historians in the MO movement, I love to point out classic Orthodox siddurim and other seforim that freely printed "Elohim" and "Eloheinu", unlike the current crop of such books.

It's been too many years so I don't remember the source if I ever ever knew it, but as far as I was taught, one Yud symbolizes Yahweh and the other Yisroel, even though "Yid" is spelled with an Alef.

As a PSA let me remind you all that monotheism is a lie that came much after "Moses," perpetrated upon Jewry by some artscroll-like rabbis. To Moshe Our Teacher Yahweh was the God of gods, not the only one.

Do you know what the Karaites think about this one? They call Hashem YHWH
(see website www.light-of-israel.org/loi23eng.shtml)
Mind you I don't agree, since I am not Karaite, but they certainly have an argument for their case.

Fleishike: It is true that our religion evolved from polytheism, to monolatry (belief in several gods, but worshipping one), to monotheism. I also don't buy the artscroll view of history. However, just because an idea evolved doesn't mean it's not true. (Look at the history of ideas in general). The ancient Greek philosophers also evolved away from paganism, into the worship of an incorporeal First Cause. They contributed to Jewish theology as well (anthropomorphism became metaphor).

I personally believe in the one god, and not a host of godlings (although Greek mythology is very entertaining). However, I don't wish to stone anybody who disagrees with me.

Dave: the only reason I don't say Yahweh is practical. I have to live in a community that says either Adonai or Hashem, and I think it is important to be a part of a community. Therefore, I conform to their usage even though the Karaites sound convincing to me on this one.

Yochanan, I quite agree with you.
I am more used to saying Adonai or Hashem, so I have a hard time saying Yahweh.
Also about monolatry, you're right on.
Unfortunately, there are still many Jews who have not really internalized Hashem as ruler of the universe and basically stick to the tribal concept of Hashem as G-d of Israel. I think that one acts on the basis of what one believes, so they behave in a tribal way.

Maybe Yud Yud is the real name of God.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow said, it is like ‘Yhhhhh or ‘Whhhhh’ You know From First Kings (19:11-12)
And he said to him: Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord: and behold the Lord passeth, and a great and strong wind before the Lord, overthrowing the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces: but the Lord is not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: but the Lord is not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, a fire: but the Lord is not in the fire. And after the fire, a whistling of a gentle air.

Also, you know, Hasidim sing ‘Ay ya-ya, ay-ya-ya’. Definitely, this is the full name of HaShem :-))

This is the correct answer.

yud yud is an abbreviation (1st & last letter)for:
YUD aleph HEH dalet VOV nun HEH yud.

The above is combination of 2 names: YHVH & Adonoy. You are supposed to have this in mind when we pronounce Adonoy.

If you take a look at a sephardic siddur you will see this combination immediately after each YHVH

I hope this satisfies you. I was bothered by this question in the past & after doing careful research this is what I found.

What you found is very late – dated to at the earliest the late 1500s and probably much later than that.

There is a long history of abbreviating the name in various ways that precedes that.

One of those various ways is yud yud.

shmarya not to be too argumentive,

but that's simply not true. yy is an abbreviation of those 2 names combined & not YHVH alone, which can't be abbreviated. I'll leave it at that.

Unless you have a source, you have nothing.

It's no hidush to talk about the differing kabbalistic representations of the name and to note that yud yud is one of them.

It would be a hidush to show this representation pre-dates earlier uses for the yud yud abbreviation.

You can't do that because the kabbalist stuff you mention is all from the Ari at the earliest, and yud yud pre-dates the Ari.

what's your source that yud yud predates the ari?

secondly, what make you so sure that yud yud wasn't aroud before the ari? it would be very foolish of you to think that god's names started with the ari. there were many kabbalists that predated the ari and also dealt with names.

Because there's actual scholarly (i.e., academic) work on this. And, no, as far as I know, the *idea* that yud-yud was used as a kabbalistic hint or reminder does *not* pre-date the Ari.

have you ever heard of avraham abulafia. he was a kabbalist who dealt with names and he lived way before the ari. as did many others.

Try to think.

1. The use of abbreviations for the name of God PREDCEDES the birth of all the people you call Kabbalists.

2. The choice between various abbreviations was often made by the SCRIBE or the PRINTER, base on their own preference – NOT ON so-called Kabbalistic doctrine.

3. The fact that Kabbalists dealt with names of God (as, by the way, did non-Kabbalists) in no way means the choice of yud yud is Kabbalistically based.

4. Do you actuallly know the history of these abbreviations? Of course not.

5. Again, the idea that yud yud represents your kabbalistic mumbo jumbo does NOT predate the use of yud yud as an abbreviation of God's name.

Do any of you know the origin of the yud yud abbreviation? If so, or if you have any thoughts on this, please leave them in the comments section below. Thank you.>>

The simplest reason that comes to mind is due to the fact that the Christian zealots used to burn Jewish books on a routine basis, and in order to avoid the desecration of God's most hallowed and revered name, the printers decided to abbreviate the name.

I have a very good friend (a Biblical Archeologist) who showed me a source a few years ago that said that Yud Yud comes from the abbreviation Yud Yud Vav which is gematria for YHVH. Eventually the Vav got dropped and we're left with Yud Yud.

Except that yud yud vav comes from an earlier abbreviation used during Talmudic and late Biblical times – yud hay.

The abbreviation Yud Yud: the first Yud represents the first letter of the Tetragrammaton.

The second Yud represents the last letter of the Shem Adnus: A-D-O-N-O-I, indication that is how the Tetragrammaton is meant to be pronounced in this case.

The reply October 27, 2007 at 02:35 PM is correct - look at the vowels - they correspond to first and (almost) last letters of these holy names.

The three yuds represent birchas cohanim (as mentioned above).

For this reason "mechikah" is allowed on three yuds but only for a "tzorich godol" where there are two. A "tzorich godol" is described as replacing the abbreviated form with the full tetragammaton.

I've seen in Saradi siddurim the reason for the two yuds. Yud Kay Vov Kay is the first 'yud' and Alef Daled Nun Yud = the second 'yud.
The reason being : Yud Kay ... is pronounced Alef Daled .... It is therefore written in some of the Sfaradi suddurim two large letters 'Yud Yud' with the spelled out Yud Kay... and Alef Daled... between the two Yuds

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

Please Scroll Down Toward The Bottom Of This Page For More Search Options, For A List Of Recent Posts, And For Comments Rules

----------------------

----------------------

Recent Posts

----------------------

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website. Please click the Donate button now to contribute.

Thank you for your generous support!

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

-------------------------

Comment Rules

  • 1. No anonymous comments.

    2. Use only one name or alias and stick with that.

    3. Do not use anyone else's name or alias.

    4. Do not sockpuppet.

    5. Try to argue using facts and logic.

    6. Do not lie.

    7. No name-calling, please.

    8. Do not post entire articles or long article excerpts.

    ***Violation of these rules may lead to the violator's comments being edited or his future comments being banned.***

Older Posts Complete Archives

Search FailedMessiah

Lijit Search

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com in the Media

RSS Feed

Blog Widget by LinkWithin