What’s in a name? Ha Shem and the Shama

Wikipedia: A diagram of the many names of God, by Athanasius Kircher

Wikipedia has a fascinating article on various world religions’ Names of God.  (While my headline words are Jewish; I’m not Jewish – nor of any denomination, beyond being a frequent student of the old and new testaments of the Bible, nominally terming myself Judeo-Christian; I rarely sit in pews, except to pay personal respect.)  A name is often thought to indicate a nature.  Thus, God derives from “the ultimate good”.

In recent years I’ve been pondering what has been called the central thesis of Judaism, found in Deuteronomy 6:4  (All of chapter six is about living in the Promised Land.)  Here’s that central thesis I mentioned :

Interlinear (the “power words” below are individually clickable)sorry, ignore the ads, or use a private window :

v 4:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD

(A Torah translation, KEYED  BY “me”) :
Listen up, you who call yourselves God’s-in-charge*: I AM, and WE^ the Divine, are all ONE Being, [ONE Consciousness; ONE Organism].  CLICKABLE LINKS:

* First Bible appearance of the name, Israel.

~ First appearance of I AM  (merger of Elohim + I AM = LORD God)

º Most famous appearance of the name I AM

^ First appearance of name, Elohim  (plural in Hebrew)

 Ha Shem means literally “the name”.  It is a way of expressing deep reverence, referring to what is too holy to be mentioned aloud — as in, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. (Ex20:7). The name I AM is not said aloud for this reason — so much so that the pronunciation of the four letters Y H W H comprising this name has been forgotten by the culture.  Note: biblical Hebrew does not include vowels; so the pronunciation Jehovah, or Yehovah, is purely speculative.  (Imagine an English word written without vowels, thusly:  B R N D.  ¿Would it be pronounced brand or brained or brined or burned?)  The word Lord typically denotes “owner”.

It seems evident to me that there is more than a hint of nonduality (or monism) in this verse which I’ve extrapolated in my rendering, above. (Think monothesim in its purist form.) Note, for example, that one bunch of grapes features many berries. But there are several approaches to these ideas.

Somewhere CS Lewis observes that God’s name is I AM, and we steal it and use it with impunity, often selfishly, multiple times each day.

Also, don’t miss the relevant observation from a highly competent scholar, linked by me in the comment section, below.

 

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