The Two-Letter Name of YHWH -
The Yah Verses in the Tanach (Hebrew Bible)
Twelve Tribe Torah Institute ©
Yah is the hidden aspect of YHWH-Elohim. Without the Book of Psalms we would know very little about the use of this Holy Name in ancient times. As Bat-Yah is the daughter (1 Chronicles 4:18) of Pharoah, portrayed as the master of resistance in the Exodus story, we will find Yah in all our denials and avoidances. In the pre-Talmudic era, Yah will be recast as the Daughter of God in Proverbs Chapter 8 and equated with the Wisdom, the pre-existent creative element, the darkness our of which all light emits.
Shechinah (a "She" noun in the Hebrew meaning Indwelling) in the Talmudic era will begin to take on the essence of the indwelling Holy Presence. In addition, the root of the word Shechinah (Shochen) intimates Death, the She'ol, or the Dwelling in the Underworld (thanks to Mitchell Dahood for the Ugaritic sources on this correlation - also see Psalm 7:6 "and (the enemy) will cause my honorable self to dwell in the dust"). Shechinah through the root "to dwell" is quite common in the Tanach and is the root for the noun "Mishcan" the Sanctuary, or place of Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
A perusal of the verses of Yah, most of which appear in the Psalms, has organically lead me this conclusion - that She is the Feared One connected to Death and the She'ol passage to the next world. Yah is the Divine Daughter who is always the Avoided One in most religious cultures. However, out of Her Darkness, the Light arises, and She beckons the coming of the Son, the Redeemer, the Light, the Saviour. All of these are ASPECTS of the Holy Name of YHWH, the forth letter signifying the Daughter according to the Zohar page 27b. Once you get to befriend Her, the result is Hallelu-Yah as all the sages praised the wisdom, transformation, and the release from difficulty that denial of Her will create. Yah is the early Holy Name of Shechinah!
I will make it clear that an addition of a mapiq dot in the Hey letter of the word YAH, makes it an exclamation point. It was also assumed that it makes the word a "He" word instead of a She word as it clear from the verbs and adjectives surrounding Yah. However, this assumption needs to be revisited, in light of the information below.
The following list of verses is comprehensive, covering most if not all the verses in the Hebrew Bible that contain a clearly recognizable form of the Holy Name of Yah:
Psalm 77:12 "I will make mention of the deeds of Yah; surely I will remember Your wondrousness from of old." Yah in the later incarnation as Wisdom (Xochmah) is also described as the most ancient. See Proverbs chapter 8 which is all about Wisdom (a "She" noun in the Hebrew) and depicted as the Daughter of God the Father.
Psalm 94:12 "Fulfilled is the person whom You, Yah, castigate but teach from Your Torah" (Torah is a "She" noun and was later equated with Xochmah and Bat - the Daughter). This verse establishes the connection between the hard lessons learned when we are in the Presence of the Holy Spirit and Shechinah, and emphasizes Yah's leading us back to Ashrei, the condition of fulfillment and true happiness (i.e. "only through the Daughter can we come to the Mother").
Psalm 115:17,18) The dead do not praise Yah, neither all those who descend into the Silent Underworld (Domah, another "She" noun in Hebrew). But we will bless Yah, from now and through eternity -- Hallelu-Yah! These two verses establish the connection between the stay in Purgatory and the recognition that blessing Yah throughout the darkness and punishment leads us into the shout of Hallelu-Yah!
Psalm 118:5 From the narrow straights, I called out "YAH!" - and (Yah) answered me in the vast expansive space of Yah. Again, this verse establishes the connection between being squeezed (Metzar, a narrow, oppressive place, and also connoting being in slavery in Mitzrayim, the "double-trouble" or place of dilemma), and the liberation there from, as being all in Yah!
Psalm 118:17-19 Here is the trilogy of Yah -- 1. I shall not die for I live telling of the deeds of Yah. 2. Yah has sorely chastised me but not given me over to Death. 3. Open for me the gates of Right Living; I will enter through them, giving thanks to Yah! Again, here is the connection between the grip of Death and the process of learning through the hard knocks of life, and the entering into the gates of liberation through Tsedek, righteousness, all through Yah!
Psalm 118:14 and Exodus 15:2 "My strength and my song (or my vibrant, cutting edge power, or "sentinel" according to Dahood) is Yah, and has become for me a Salvation (again a "She" noun in the Hebrew). This verse is echoed and amplified in the Prophet Isaiah 12:2 "Behold El is my Salvation - I shall trust and not live in fear - for my strength and power is Yah Yahweh, becoming for me a Salvation."
Psalm 94:7 "And they say that one cannot see Yah and that one cannot comprehend the God of Jacob." This verse establishes the hidden nature of Yah. In fact Yah is the mystery, the wisdom, most feared and denial oriented Name of God. However, Jacob (the heel) grew to know Yah and learned to struggle with the Angel and prevailed, leading to the creation of Israel. Out of transformation comes our salvation.
Isaiah 26:4 "Trust in YHWH for all time; surely in (the Name) Yah YHWH is the Rock of Ages." Or possibly: "surely Yah YHWH within me is the Rock of Ages"
Isaiah 68:5 "Sing unto God; sing His Name; make way for the One who rides the clouds; through YAH is His Name; go rejoice in His presence." (note that Isaiah is the Prophet most closely related to the Psalms -- no other Hebrew prophets besides Moses and the Levites ever mention this Name).
Psalm 68:19b "w'af sor'rim li-Shcon Yah Elohim" - is a difficult verse in the one Psalm that consciously interweaves all the Hebrew Names of God. In any event, this verse establishes that Yah is a Holy Name of God, and strongly intimates a connection between Yah and the verbal root for "Shechinah" (a "She" noun in the Hebrew), probably the Dwelling in the Underworld where the straying souls reside.
Psalm 102:18,19 "(YHWH) turned to the prayer of those who are abandoned and did not despise their prayer. May this be written down unto the final generation so that a people reborn may praise Yah!" Again: another reference that the name of Yah is connected with rebirth and salvation from calamity.
Psalm 130:3 "If you preserve (our) hidden sins, oh Yah Lord, who can stand?! For with You is the Forgiveness, so that you are fear-worthy." Here is a connection between Yah and Adonai, and also the connection between Yah and 'awon (hidden sin, the sin of child abuse and earth abuse - more on that important Biblical keyword in another essay).
Exodus 17:16 (in reference to the eternal war against Amalek) "Moses then built an altar, calling its name, YHWH Nisi (Yahweh is my Standard). And he said: "Surely the hand of the Almighty is (on) the Throne of Yah, (swearing that there is) a war for Yahweh against Amalek for all generations." If this translation is correct (we will probably never know for sure), then here is another connection between the Son and the Daughter Aspects of YHWH. This one would then be a very crucial teaching, perhaps one of existential importance to all religions yearning to be based in freedom and choice in God.
Psalm 135:4 "For Yah has chosen Jacob as His own; Israel as his Treasure." For while we struggle with the darkness in our "Jacob" phase of life, Israel, the wholeness of the spiritual Twelve Tribes, is the ultimate inheritance and treasure of YHWH.
Psalm 122:3,4 "Jerusalem rebuilt is like a city that all fits together. For there the tribes arose, the very Tribes of Yah, as a testimony to Israel (father of the geographical Twelve Tribes), giving thanks to the Name of YHWH." How our struggle and living through the darkness gives rise to the very birth of the twelve spiritual tribes who all acknowledge the greatness and sovereignty of Yahweh.
HALLELU-YAH!! This well-known phrase literally means: "Y'all, praise Yah!" (see Psalm 104, 105, 106, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117, 135, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150)
Psalm 150:6 (the very last verse in the Book of Psalms): May each soul praise Yah! Hallelu-Yah!
The visionary Pharisaic tradition teaches in the Babylonian Talmud Eruvin page 18b: "Rabbi Jeremiah ben Elazar taught: 'from the day the Temple was destroyed, it is totally sufficient for the world to use (the Holy Name consisting of) two letters, for it is written "May each soul praise Yah! Hallelu-Yah!"'
The spiritual Pharisaic tradition teaches in the Genesis Midrash Rabah (14:11) that "Rabbi Levi in the name of Rabbi Hanina taught: 'with each and every breath a human being needs to adore the Creator.' What is the proof text? "May every soul with breath praise Yah! Hallelu-Yah!"
One point of this Midrash Rabah teaching is a guidance to humankind to include those religious practices that assist us and indeed encourage us to go face the darkness, the abusive, the deceptive, the denial, and the self-delusional, and to still sing praises at all times to Yah! May you find great blessing in knowing the Two-letter Name of YHWH! Hallelu-Yah!
Part One - The Two-Letter name of YHWH - the Yah Verses
Translations of the above Tanach verses and Talmud/Midrash sources are all by Rabbi Monty Eliasov. © The Twelve Tribe Torah Institute, Inc. Version 2.02
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