We know we cannot pronounce the 4-lettered name of Hashem.

Is it allowed to say the letters of Hashem's name ie “Yud hei vov hei” as in the meditation before counting the Omer or must one say “Yud kei vov kei”.

What proof is there that the expression ההוגה את השם באותיותיו in the Mishna in Sanhedrin 10:1 refers to saying the letters (yud hei etc.) as well as pronouncing the whole name.

  • Sanhedrin 10:1
    – Double AA
    Apr 21, 2013 at 10:36
  • @DoubleAA Thank you. Incorporated your comment into the question. Apr 21, 2013 at 13:32
  • @double aa, avrohom yitzchok, isn't the meditation usually Yud Hei BeVav Hei?
    – Seth J
    Apr 21, 2013 at 20:53
  • @SethJ Yes it is. But I don't see your point. BTW the Gr"a did not say any "leshem Yichud"s. Apr 21, 2013 at 20:56
  • 1
    @AvrohomYitzchok Nor did any of the Rishonim.
    – Double AA
    Apr 21, 2013 at 21:03

2 Answers 2


Tosfot (Sukkah 5a s.v. Yod) says that saying "Yod - Hey" is ok if the intention is not for the name יה but as a abbreviation of the Tetragrammaton. This implies that they understand that spelling out the letters can be problematic as well.

  • 3
    BTW, the marginal note in Sukkah refers to two other Tosafos. Shevuos 35a s.v. b'alef dales agrees with Tosafos in Sukkah that is that without intention for the name is not a problem. Avodo Zoro 18a s.v. hog'e says that one should not mention even the letters yud hei - and does not speak about intention. Apr 21, 2013 at 20:52

The Kaf Hachaim 5:9 quotes the AriZal and Radvaz who say that spelling out the letters is forbidden as ההוגה את השם.

  • 1
    I wonder when the "Kay" in place of the "Hey" became popular. The Kaf Hachaim brings another way to say it.
    – Menachem
    Apr 22, 2013 at 3:02
  • Hacham Ovadia also holds like this. Apr 22, 2013 at 4:18

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