With all my reading of inscriptions on matzevot, especially in Slovakia, I come across issues I cannot resolve.

Take the name of Yehuda (יהודה). Anyone with some knowledge of the Torah and shevatim knows how it should be spelled. That it also has within it shem H-shem is readily discernible. So I wonder why I have seen it written variously as יהודא, with an aleph at the end, or Yuda (יודא, יודה). Were they being so cautious as to not inscribe shem H-shem? If this is a Yiddish form of the name, why use this form rather than the real Hebrew spelling?

Would they even have written it in one of these ways on a ketuba or get?

Any suggestions for this practice?

Thanks in advance.

To all who responded, thanks for all your observations.

I'd like to add, that I may still have a puzzle though: I might expect that if they had some additional wording in Aramaic on a matzeva, that then they might have been consistent with Yehuda with an aleph. It will take some time to review those instances.

In the thousands of Ashkenazi matzevot I have looked at so far, it was very rare indeed to find an inscription in Yiddish. So maybe as some have indicated it is just a minhag (custom) and I just won't worry about it too much.

  • 1
    יהודא and יודא are Aramaic. By the way, take a look at the title page to a popular Yiddish Chumash: seforimsets.com/image/data/…
    – ezra
    May 22, 2018 at 17:38
  • 1
    You will see a similar changing of vowels in the words ייִדיש (Jewish) and ייִדישקייט (Jewishness). It originates from יהודה or, rather, יהודי. The letter heh has been dropped.
    – DanF
    May 22, 2018 at 17:47
  • Why do you think they should prefer "the real Hebrew spelling" to the real Yiddish spelling? Especially if they lived in Yiddish speaking countries.
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2018 at 17:48
  • @DanF The more "correct" spelling of the word Yiddish is either אידיש or יודיש; the spelling "ייִדיש" is a later invention.
    – ezra
    May 22, 2018 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


Many people have the custom of not writing the name יהודה with the four letters of the Shem H-Shem readily discernible (as you have noted) for fear of it not being treated with due respect.

This is not halacha but custom.

  • Source? [15 char]
    – DonielF
    May 23, 2018 at 23:17

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