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2240The "Yah" error & why the Name of "Jesus" is NOT "Yahshua"

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  • Jovial
    Sep 21, 2010
      I have included the following study, not for the sake of the phonetics and for "perfect pronunciation", but even more importantly for the sake of understanding how much we let our CULTURE influence the way we make decisions about issues and the way our cultural biases can lead us astray.
      The "Yah" Error
      Many people have tried to rewrite the Name of "Yeshua" or "Yehoshua" as "Yahshua" or "Yahushua" or some other "improvement" they think should be made to proper Hebrew speach.  Many of these same people are certain that however you pronounce YHWH, it's gotta start with "Yah".  Most of them don't realize how based their logic is on English culture, and not Hebrew thinking since there is nothing in Hebrew linguistics that would prod you into concluding this.
      The logic is that because the short form of "YHWH" is "YaH", then “YHWH” must be “YaH” + something with “WH” or "YaH-H-H", and we need to figure out what vowels go where I have put hyphens.  Actually, “YaH” is not the only short form of the Divine Name. “YeH” is another and so is “Yo”, though “Yo” is usually written “יו”, but the pronunciation of the Divine Name used on Yom Kippur starts with “Yo” even though there's no VAV after the YUD. This is why the short form of Yoseph is Yose', which isn't much shorter than Yoseph.  It's because "Yo" is a short form for the Divine Name.  Of course in English, "Joe" is used because the "J" is not part of the Divine Name and essentially an ENGLISH abbreviation, not a Hebrew one.  But we never use "Yo" in Hebrew.
      And most of these people do not realize that if English speakers were accustommed to shortening “Joseph” to “Jeph” instead of “Joe” and “Marcus” to “Mus” instead of “Marc”, they would be assuming that a known use of “YaH” implies that “YHWH” is “Y-H-WaH” with the first two vowels yet to be figured out. They do not realize how much English based logic is going into their assumptions.    HEBREW DOES NOT WORK LIKE ENGLISH and short forms are not based on using the first syllable from the long form of the word!!!!  Those who insist that YHWH must start with YAH are refusing to recognize the fact that Hebrew does not work like English and are forcing their English ideas into a Hebrew problem.
      But in Hebrew , when a short form is used, it doesn't necessarily retain the original vowels from the original form at all.  We call the TOrah + NEviim (Prophets) + Ketuvim (Writings) the TaNaK, not the ToNeK.  One cannot look at the short form of a name and draw any conclusions whatsoever about the vowels for the long form is because Hebrew just doesn't work like English, and those trying to fit "Yah" into everything are making the assumption that Hebrew works like English where the short forms are derived from the long forms by retaining the first consonant and first vowel, when Hebrew just doesn't work that way.  Apply the "Yah Error" logic to the word "Tanach" would have you calling the Torah the "Tarah" and saying "Naviim" instead, because "a" is used in that abbreviaiton too!!!!!
      But also, if someone doesn't trust the Masoretic scribes to have written the vowels for one word correctly, why trust them for another?  Why trust their writing "Yah" if you don't trust the vowels they put to the entire name?  So this argument assumes as true what it is trying to disprove in order to disprove it!!!   It assumes the Masorets got it right when they wrote "Yah" but got it wrong when they wrote other vowels in for YHWH!!!!  That is inconsistently illogical.

      Understanding how to say the Divine Name is a Hebrew problem. It needs a Hebrew solution and Hebrew logic.  Any attempt to approach this issue through English logic could result in something worse that just failure. In some cases, the end result is a pronunciation that is blasphemous.  People should not try to rewrite the Divine Name or Yeshua's Name wioth "Yah" in it.  In the case of Yeshua's Name, it can lead to something blasphemous.

      What's wrong with "YAHshua"?  First off, His Name is written as "ישוע" (Y'ShUA) or  "יהושע" (YeHoShUA), not "יהשוע" (YHShUA).  And "יה + שוע" (YaH + ShUA) is not something you would want to say.

      • "ישע" = YaShA is the verb "to save"
      • "ישעוה" = YeShUaH is the noun "Salvation" and it is a feminine word.  Yeshua's Name is derived from "YeShUaH" be dropping the final "H" (HEY) in order to make it masculine.
      • "שוע" = ShUA is the PUAL form of the verb "save" and means "cry for help" or "being saved".  The Pual form inverts who is saving and who is being saved, so it reverses things from the subject of the sentence being the one doing the saving to the subject being the one being saved.  "שוע" = ShUA is used in Job 30:24 where it says "...though they CRY OUT FOR HELP (SHUA) in his destruction" .

      Now many armchair theologians have concluded that "shua" means the same thing as "yasha" , or to save, and that "Yahshua" means "Yah is salvation".  But that's false.  Shua means to be saved, or to cry out for salvation - just like it was used in Job 30:24!!!  So when one says "Yah" + SHUA, what he is saying is "Yah is crying for help".  Thus, by trying to reinvent the Saviors Name by inserting English logic into the mix, they have inverted the meaning of His Name so that it says something blasphemous.

      Now with over 70 ways to say the Name of "YHWH", do some of them start with "Yah"?  Yes.  But they don't ALL start with "Yah" and we should not take what we know to be legitimate pronunciations that start with something else (Like "יְהֹוָה" or "יְהִוָה") and change the first syllable to "Yah" just because we've seen the short form of "YaH" (which is only one of SEVERAL short forms) used in some places.  Such a change could result in completely changing the meaning into something that should not be said.  Stick with pronunciations EXACTLY as you learned them from Hebrew sources, without trying to "improve" upon them.  What the English mind considers an "improvement" might result in something that is actually a deterioration, meaningless, or worst yet blasphemous if you don't understand Hebrew grammar well enough to understand what effect that change makes to the meaning.

      The moral of this is several fold. 

      1. Don't apply English logic to a Hebrew problem.
      2. If you don't know Hebrew, don't argue with Hebrew speaking people over how to speak Hebrew.
      3. Don't use a pronunciation for a Hebrew word if you can't find it used in Hebrew writings.
      4. Often we never realize how much our culture is affecting our thinking.

      The above ought to be common sense, but there's not enough of this type of common sense going around.  There's more on this issue at http://www.messiahalive.com/thename.htm where I tackle this and demonstrate that there's been a lot written in Jewish history over how to correctly pronounce the Name in such a way that we do not have to do anything except consult those ancient Hebrew writings to know how to say the correct Hebrew pronunciation of any Hebrew word, including the Divine Name.




      Now some people have accused me of trying to speak condemnation over pronunciation.  That is not my intent.  My intent is to help you understand WHY Judaism quit saying the Name. It was not due to some sort of evil intent, but to terminate this whole problem of blasphemous mispronunciations being used.  And many people who have ignored the advice of tradition and the New Testament have become modern day examples of why one should not try to 'improve' on what has become accepted Hebrew practice. 


      For more on this topic, check out http://www.messiahalive.com/thename.htm where I examine what Hebrew writers have said about this issue in many document that have never been translated into English before.


      Shalom, Joe