Adonai
A Hebrew word signifying ‘‘the Lord’’ and used by Jews
when speaking or writing of ‘‘YHWH,’’ or Yahweh, the ineffable
name of God. The Jews entertained the deepest awe for this
incommunicable and mysterious name, and this feeling led
them to avoid pronouncing it and to substitute the word Adonai
for ‘‘Jehovah’’ in their sacred text. The ancients attributed
great power to names; to know and pronounce someone’s
name was to have power over them. Obviously one could not,
like the Pagans, suggest that mere creatures had power over
God.
This custom in Jewish prayers still prevails, especially
among Hasidic Jews, who follow the Kabala and believe that
the Holy Name of God, associated with miraculous powers,
should not be profaned. Yahweh is their invisible protector and
king, and no image of him is made. He is worshiped according
to his commandments, with an observance of the ritual instituted
through Moses. The term ‘‘YHWH’’ means the revealed Absolute
Deity, the Manifest, Only, Personal, Holy Creator and
Redeemer.

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