[b-hebrew] Vocalization Transfer from Yodh-Yodh

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Jun 30 16:36:44 EDT 2010

On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 3:38 PM, Jason Hare wrote:
> Yitzhak,
> So, since יְיָ is a common representation of the Tetragrammaton in
> some religious literature, the vowels of this shortened form were
> imported into the Leningrad Codex? That would indeed make sense, but I
> hadn't seen that explanation before I read this message (I've been
> kinda ignoring some of the messages in these threads and have filtered
> Dave's e-mail to the delete bin, so I must have overlooked it). Thanks
> a lot, Yitzhak.
> Jason Hare
> Rehovot

Hello Jason,

I got this idea when I realized there was a shorthand for Elohim too.  A
while ago, I got books on the early Piyyut.  This has to do with my thesis
that the Hebrew language survived as a spoken language for a very
long time, due to the survival of a large agrarian population in the
Galilee in these conditions.  The farming villages in the Galilee survived
from the Second Temple period down to the Crusades, and this puts
the time frame where I want to see additional evidence for the survival
of Hebrew as a native spoken language.  To this end, I felt early works
on the Piyyut could furnish linguistic evidence from this theorized spoken

Anyway, one of the works on the Piyyut -- מחזור פיוטי יניי לתורה ולמועדים --
contains the following in a piyyut on Ex 31:1-17:
כי כשמך כן תהילת / וכל הנקרא בשמך ייקרא .. / ... אותך / ... ממך / זה שמך לעולם
ומכל נעלם / ואראלים לא חקרוהו / ושרפי (מעלה) לא ידעוהו / שמו יי
וכינויו אים / ועדי עד ייקרא יי
זכרו בשילוש קדושות

The editor, Zvi Meir Rabinovitz, writes in a footnote on אים:
The opinion of the paytan is that Elohim is a כינוי and so it seems from the
Barayta in Shavuoth 36a תנו רבנן איש איש כי יקלל את אלהיו etc.

So, Rabinovitz apparently reads the shorthand אים as referring to אלהים.
This אים is transcribed with two dots on top just like יי is earlier on the same
verse transcribed with one dot on top.  On this basis we can explain then
not just the two vowel (schewa-qamats) tradition for Adonai but also the
two vowel tradition of vocalization of the tetragrammaton as Elohim.

But still, it is just an idea of mine, a working explanation for that

Yitzhak Sapir

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