I have seen many books where the first letters of the first 4 works in the first sentence of the work spell out the shem Havaya (the Tetragrammaton, yud-kay and vav kay). What was the first Jewish book that made use of this?

  • something tells me this comes from the end of bereshis 1:31 into 2:1 which we recite in kiddush. – rikitikitembo Jan 20 '15 at 1:35

We'll go with Double AA's Mishne Torah for now.

Rambam's Mishneh Torah was compiled, according to Wikipedia, " between 1170 and 1180 (4930–4940)."

It begins (Yesodei HaTorah 1:1) "יסוד היסודות ועמוד החכמות."

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    If anyone knows of any earlier book, please post an answer, and leave me a comment! I'm curious :) – MTL Jan 13 '15 at 5:12
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    Do you have any evidence that usage was intentional? It is not highlighted in any old manuscript I can find. – Double AA Feb 12 '15 at 5:41
  • @DoubleAA, what would constitute evidence? – Yishai Apr 13 '15 at 15:18
  • @Yishai Lots of things could be evidence? The simplest of course is Rambam writing so in a letter or something. You could also look towards old manuscripts, translators notes or even classial commentaries – Double AA Apr 13 '15 at 16:06
  • @DoubleAA חזון נחום makes the point, FWIW. – Yishai Apr 13 '15 at 16:11

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