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We know that Boaz introduced the possibility of greeting people using the tetragrammaton. The Mishnah in Berochos 54a says

והתקינו שיהא אדם שואל את שלום חברו בשם שנאמר והנה בעז בא מבית לחם ויאמר לקוצרים ה' עמכם ויאמרו לו יברכך ה' ואומר ה' עמך גבור החיל

and they instituted that one should greet his friend using the tetragrammaton as it says “Presently Boaz arrived from Bethlehem. He greeted the reapers, “The LORD ( tetragrammaton) be with you!” And they responded, “The LORD ( tetragrammaton) bless you!” and it says “The Lord ( tetragrammaton) is with you mighty man of valour”.

And Rashi comments

שיהא אדם שואל לשלום חבירו בשם. בשמו של הקב"ה ולא אמרינן מזלזל הוא בכבודו של מקום בשביל כבוד הבריות להוציא שם שמים עליו ולמדו מבעז שאמר ה' עמכם ומן המלאך שאמר לגדעון ה' עמך גבור החיל:

That a person should greet his friend using the tetragrammaton: with the name of the Holy One Blessed be He and we do not say that this denigrates the honour of Hashem in order to honour humans and we learnt if from Boaz who said “The LORD ( tetragrammaton) be with you!” and from the angel that appeared to Gideon and said “The Lord ( tetragrammaton) is with you mighty man of valour”.

I do not know of a source about the use of the tetragrammaton for any purpose before Boaz.

According to Wikipedia based on Encyclopedia Britannica (is this an accepted source for us?)

Some time after the destruction of Solomon's Temple, the spoken use of God's name as it was written ceased among the people, even though knowledge of the pronunciation was perpetuated in rabbinic schools.[36] Philo calls it ineffable, and says that it is lawful for those only whose ears and tongues are purified by wisdom to hear and utter it in a holy place (that is, for priests in the Temple). In another passage, commenting on Lev. xxiv. 15 seq.: "If any one, I do not say should blaspheme against the Lord of men and gods, but should even dare to utter his name unseasonably, let him expect the penalty of death."[36]

In which historical periods was it allowed to pronounce the tetragrammaton? From the sources above it seems that there was a time when it was permitted to be spoken and later even to be used in a greeting. Later still it was forbidden.

(Was Abba Shaul the one who forbade it? For as we know, the Mishnah in Sanhedrin 10 (1) lists those who have no share in the World to Come. Included in these according to Abba Shaul is someone who utters the Divine Name as it is spelled.)

related: How can we learn the correct way to pronounce God's name? Where are Jews forbidden to speak the name of God

  • Do you mean pronouncing it as YH or AD? How do you know which of those Boaz used – Double AA Jul 12 '16 at 21:35
  • If YH, do you mean aside from the Kohein Gadol on Yom Kippur and Duchening in the Temple? Or including those? – Double AA Jul 12 '16 at 21:36
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    The Mishnah is quoting Ruth 2:4 that indicates it was the tetragrammaton used in the fields by both Boaz and the reapers: "Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, 'YHWH be with you!' And they answered him, 'YHWH bless you!'" – user2411 Jul 12 '16 at 22:29
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I believe that your question is predicated on a misunderstanding of the gemara in and Rashi in Berachot.

The gemara in Pesachim 50a reads:

ר' אבינא רמי כתיב (שמות ג, טו) זה שמי לעלם וזה זכרי לדור דור אמר הקב"ה לא כשאני נכתב אני נקרא נכתב אני ביו"ד ה"א ונקרא אני באל"ף דל"ת:

That is, though the written text is YKVK (the tetragrammaton), this is to be read as Adonai. When considering the verse in Ruth:

ויאמר לקוצרים ה' עמכם ויאמרו לו יברכך ה

, one could understand that, just as the one who ritually recites the verse would say Adonai, so did Boaz say Adonai. But the writer of the verse wrote YKVK, because that is how you write the verse.

So too Rashi. Rashi said בשמו של הקב"ה, but that equally applies to Adonai as to YKVK.

This is effectively what Avishadai EliYahu Adam wrote in his answer, but I've fleshed it out a bit more.

  • That is how you write what verse? – user2411 Jul 14 '16 at 22:51
  • The verse in Ruth. – josh waxman Jul 14 '16 at 23:05
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    No. There is a generally unpronounced name YKVK, with its own set of vowels. And as a kinnuy (nickname due to reverence) there is Adonai, whose purpose is to refer to YKVK, so that when someone says Adonai, they are referring to YKVK. (Much like, as a further reverent development, people say Hashem to refer to the name Adonai.) When reading the Torah or Nach, people would read Adonai rather than YKVK. And as a further application, it is quite likely that the Gemara, and or Rashi, assumed that Boaz kept to the same Rabbinic practice and said Adonai, which was written YKVK. – josh waxman Jul 15 '16 at 0:33
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    @Sarah "Ado-nai" is not the only substitute pronunciation. There's a masoretic tradition for which instances of the Tetragrammaton in the Bible should be pronounced "Ado-nai" and which should be pronounced "Elo-him". Only in the Temple was it pronounced as spelled, and in those cases, the people responded by reverently prostrating themselves and reciting an antiphonic praise (see 1st half of this answer). There are also a few other instances in the Bible where there is a tradition that certain words should be pronounced differently than spelled. – Fred Jul 15 '16 at 1:05
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    Yet that is the most likely meaning of the gemara and Rashi in Berachot, IMHO, mind warp notwithstanding. One plausible answer, to my mind, is that since this is an assumed cultural understanding, that these two names coalesce and refer to the same idea, since Boaz said Adonai as an intended reverent reference to the name (and idea of) YKVK (as the prophetic or culturally embedded narrator would know), the correct thing to write would be YKVK. – josh waxman Jul 15 '16 at 1:07
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A first element of answer, I hope to find more.

See Mishna Taanit 2, 5:

פרק ב - משנה ה

מַעֲשֶׂה בִימֵי רַבִּי חֲלַפְתָּא וְרַבִּי חֲנַנְיָה בֶן תְּרַדְיוֹן {כ}, שֶׁעָבַר אֶחָד לִפְנֵי הַתֵּבָה וְגָמַר אֶת הַבְּרָכָה כֻלָּהּ, וְלֹא עָנוּ אַחֲרָיו אָמֵן. תִּקְעוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים תְּקָעוּ. מִי שֶׁעָנָה אֶת אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ בְּהַר הַמּוֹרִיָּה הוּא יַעֲנֶה אֶתְכֶם וְיִשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל צַעֲקַתְכֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. הָרִיעוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן {כב} הָרִיעוּ. מִי שֶׁעָנָה אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ עַל יַם סוּף, הוּא יַעֲנֶה אֶתְכֶם וְיִשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל צַעֲקַתְכֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. וּכְשֶׁבָּא דָבָר אֵצֶל חֲכָמִים, אָמְרוּ, לֹא הָיִינוּ נוֹהֲגִין כֵּן אֶלָּא בְשַׁעַר מִזְרָח וּבְהַר הַבָּיִת: ‏

It happened in the days of R' Halafta and R' Hanina b. Tradyon that a man stepped before the ark and completed the entire benediction and they did not respond, 'amen'. [the synagogue attendant called out], sound a teki'ah, priests, sound a tekl'ah. [then the reader exclaimed], he who answered abraham our father on mt. moriah, he shall answer you, and hearken this day to the voice of your cry. [the synagogue attendant continued], sound a teru'ah, children of aaron, sound a teru'ah. [then the reader exclaimed], he who answered our fathers at the red sea, he shall answer you and hearken this day to the voice of your cry. and when the matter came up before the wise, they declared, this was our order of procedure only at the eastern gates and on the temple.

Bartenura explained:

לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ מַזְכִּירִין שֵׁם הַמְפֹרָשׁ בַּחֲתִימַת הַבְּרָכָה, וְלֹא סַגִּי בַּעֲנִיַּת אָמֵן‏

Bcause they was blessing with the tetragramaton in Bet Mikdash and after hearing this name one must say BSKMLV and not Amen.

Gemara 16b:

What them was said in the Temple? Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed art Thou who redeemest Israel; and the congregation respond, Blessed be the name of his glorious kingdom for ever and ever.

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I think the most probable idea is that he used Yah, or Ado...nai because those are replacements of YKVK, so Boaz used either one and they (the authors)recorded it down as YKVK.

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