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    Divine names – Va’era

    The sidra begins by informing us that God has several names.

    Most of all He is known by the Tetragrammaton (the four-letter name which is too sacred to pronounce and is read Ado-nai) or by Elokim.

    These names are referred to by some scholars as J and E. At a stage in non-traditional Bible scholarship it was suggested that there were J sources and E sources in the Torah, which was a combination of documents from various places and times.

    Jewish interpretation rejects such theories and sees the Torah as one document which uses E when it refers to the God of power and justice and J when it refers to God as the warm, concerned Compassionate One.

    The validity of this view is borne out by a careful reading of passages such as the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac (Gen. 22). As the action proceeds in the story, we see God at work in two different capacities, the One who gives stern commands and the One who exercises mercy.

    It is one story in which the two Divine Names are used depending on the needs of the narrative.

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