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Rabbi responds to letter on Judaism, Islam

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Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008 10:00 pm

This is in response to the letter from William Van Amber Fields dated Oct. 18. Throughout history, humanity's longing for understanding the concept of deity has led to the use of countless names to refer to the Supreme Being.

Jewish and Islamic traditions inculcate refraining from calling the deity by a proper name. G-d is to be invoked by the many attributes found in the Scriptures, such as the Almighty, Our Lord, the Lord of Hosts or simply "the Name" (HaShem, in Hebrew, denoting the Most Holy of names). The Quran uses 99 beautiful attributes to refer to the Supreme Being.

The written form of the name of G-d in Hebrew is known as the Tetragrammaton, considered too sacred to pronounce or use outside of prayer or worship. Gematria, the Kabalistic interpretation of the numeric values of Hebrew letters, demonstrates that the numeral 15 derives from 9+6 (not 10+5, as it spells another abbreviation for the Divine name). Unfortunately, there is not enough space on this page to dissertate on this subject.

The Bible, as known to early Christians, had its origin in the Septuagint. After the spread of Christianity, we see the first historically documented instances of an attempt to write out the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton as "JeHoVaH" or "YaHWeH" in copies and translations of the Septuagint.

The term "Allah" is not generic; the Arabic word "Allah" is the amalgamation of the definite article "al" (meaning "the") and word "illah" (meaning "g-d"). The term "al-illah" is grammatically incorrect. There are millions of Arabic-speaking Christians, all using the term "Allah" or "Allah al-Ab" (G-d the Father) when referring to G-d.

These Semitic forms of G-d's name trace their linguistic origin to ancient Mesopotamia, and were first found in cuneiform tablets. Historically, Christianity, Judaism and Islam share the same Abrahamic roots. Theologically, all three faiths differ, evolving entirely different doctrinal, dogmatic and theological concepts and principles.

In closing, I echo the words that Mr. Van Amber Fields often uses: Pray for peace in Jerusalem. Shalom.

Rabbi Dr. Raphael Pazo


Editor's note: Raphael Pazo's use of G-d is not a typographer error or computer glitch. He explained that it is Jewish tradition to not spell His name or other words used as His name on any document that may be tossed into the garbage, the street or other places. Another reason to not spell G-d's name in the newspaper is that it is often used as birdcage liner and would be disrespectful to the Lord.

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