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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Yod-Havah

The term Yod-Havah is an alternative rendering of the name of God in the Hebrew scriptures, specifically the Book of Genesis.

The Hebrew name for God, Yahweh, is written, from right to left, as יהוה (i.e., YHWH or in an alternative transliteration, JHVH, called the tetragrammaton “four-lettered”) because traditional Hebrew writing is limited to consonants, the vowels being merely inferred. Later scribal practice indicated the vowels by diacritics above or below the consonants. Because the name of God was sacred, it was never pronounced or written in full, so the word Adonai (literally “my Lord”) was substituted orally, and its vowels were added to the written tetragrammaton, which was read aloud as Adonai. Early gentile Christians did not understand the Hebrew system of substituting Adonai for Yahweh, so they assumed that the tetragrammaton was to be pronounced with the vowels of Adonai, thus producing the mistaken form Jehovah (JaHoVaH).

Yod-Havah is another form of the tetragrammaton, produced by merging the letter names of YHVH: yod, he (or ha), vav (or just va), and he (or just h). Yod, as the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, implies perfection and completion. Havah is said to be an old form of a verb meaning “to be,” thus echoing God’s answer to Moses when the patriarch asked who was speaking to him out of a burning bush in the desert: “Ahaya asher ahayah” or “I am that I am.”

THE SECRET DOCTRINE (2:127-9, 134) uses this term as an equivalent of Jehovah. H. P. BLAVATSKY, however, uses both Yod-Havah and JEHOVAH in an occult and metaphysical way to refer to the primal duality, also represented by Adam and Eve, the first emanation from ADAM KADMON.

JOHN ALGEO

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