What is the halachic stance on the Tetragrammaton transliterated into English as YHWH or Yawheh or Jehovah? Is it accurate to use the English letters YHWH as the Hebrew equivalent? We see this combination of English letters is very common these days but is it correct?

I've never heard any Orthodox Jew pronounce Hashem's name using these English letters.

  • Why the down vote?
    – Ephraim77
    Oct 21, 2019 at 22:24
  • As the Talmud in Sanhedrin (90a) states that "one who pronounces the ineffable name of God as it is written, with its letters" has no share in the world to come, you may not find many people here who are interested in exploring this question with you or figuring out the boundaries of what you propose. Oct 22, 2019 at 2:34
  • @MordechaibenYosef I presume you were the down vote?
    – Ephraim77
    Oct 22, 2019 at 16:34
  • No, I was actually not. Unfortunately people downvote on this site and leave no feedback. Oct 23, 2019 at 1:20
  • @MordechaibenYosef Thank you. I wasn't proposing anything beyond what is face value. I see YHWH all the time and simply wondered if it's halachly accurate or just a misguided attempt to transliterate.
    – Ephraim77
    Oct 23, 2019 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


At lease according to some rishonim, any language other than Ancient Hebrew is not truly a language but rather an agreed upon method of communication (see the Ran in his commentary in the beginning of Masecta Nedarim, as well as the Raavad on the Rambam's hilchot kriyat shema 2, 10).

According to the aforementioned opinion, using English letters (or any other language for that matter) will never be accurate. Despite not being accurate, if it is the agreed upon way of spelling the Tetragrammaton, which it seems to be, pronouncing it should be prohibited according to the opinion of the Rambam (ibid.) that one may recite kriyat shema in any language.

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