• Home
  • Parashah
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals
  • Freemasonry
  • Articles
  • About
  • Books
  • Media

    The Name of God – D’varim

    In Deut. 4:33 the Torah calls God E-lohim but Targum Onkelos changes the word to the four-letter Y-H-V-H.

    The E name refers to God in his capacity of power and justice (middat ha-din); the Y name is God in his capacity of love and mercy (middat ha-rachamim).

    It is interesting that in the first line of the Shema (Deut. 6:4), we find both names, followed by two implied comments: the more personal Name is Y-H-V-H, and the two names jointly denote God, making the two Names one.

    What right does Targum Onkelos have to alter a word in the Torah?

    His problem is that people might think that there are several gods who all claim the right to the name E-lohim, and the second of the Ten Commandments warns us against allocating godship to no-gods, so in order to avoid misinterpretations of the verse.

    Onkelos makes sure that we realise that there is only one genuine God whose personal Name is Y-H-V-H.

    Comments are closed.