As we know when we write Hashem's name, we replace the hey with a kuf. Why davka a kuf? For example: Elokai, Elokeinu, Elokah, or "Yud-Key-Vav-Key". And in "Yud-key-vav-key", why is it pronounced that way instead of "Yud-kuf-vav-kuf"

  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/28072/…
    – Menachem
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 22:40
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    Also shin daled yud is usually replaced as shakay with a kuf. Tzeva-os is usually pronounced Tzevakos with a kuf. Kuf seems to be the letter of choice. Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 2:13
  • 3
    hay and quf look alike. One just has a longer leg.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 5:55
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    Just a thought,Kuf is also the only letter which the throat is blocked when pronouncing it this way you would guarantee not pronouncing a hei which the sound emanates solely from the throat.
    – sam
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 1:02
  • The daled and the hey both can be changed into a kuf easily (and the kuf echoes their shapes as a reminder to the reader). Reading "vav key" highlights the shape of the letter (K) and the sound that one SHOULD be saying (hey).
    – rosends
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


R' Moshe Bamberger once said the the kuf (which means "monkey" in Hebrew) is a mocking imitation of the hei, since it looks similar.

This article takes this concept further, saying that while the hei represents the Divine kingship, the kuf represents the earthly kingship. However, in this world HaShem's presence is usually hidden behind a mask of the physical world, just as the hei is replaced with the kuf when pronouncing HaShem's name.

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