Hallelujah (hebrew Insight)

154401882The English word “Hallelujah” is a Hebrew loanword, which means that it came to us from Biblical Hebrew and has been absorbed in the exact same form in modern speech.

Hallelujah is not only a loanword; it is also a compound word, as it is made up of two Hebrew words:  הַלְּלוּ Hallelu and  יָהּ Yah.  Literally “Hallelu” is an exhortation to praise someone or something addressed to more than one person. The old English translation of “Praise, ye” is, therefore, accurate. “Yah” is simply a shorter version of יהוה “YHWH” – the English transliteration of the covenant name of Israel’s God.

Because of the belief that this name is too holy to be pronounced at all (nor does anyone know how to pronounce it correctly, since the original Hebrew did not use vowels), most translators, both Jewish and Christian, decided to simply use the word “Lord” instead, the translation of another Hebrew name for God (אֲדונָי Adonai).

The study of language tells us so much about where we have been, what we have done and where we are going next.  Jewish linguistics is a part of a wider field of Jewish Studies.


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  1. Donna Morrison

    Thank you I would like to learn about more Hebrew words and their meanings.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Donna, welcome to our study group. More is coming.

  2. RamonAntonio

    Indeed linguistics is a fascinating and profound theme in the study of any literature. Right now there’s a great debate around Nagel Thomas recent book that rejects Darwinism as a plausible explanation on human origina on the base that it can’t explain consciousness or knowledge. And consciousness and knowledge DEPEND ABSOLUTELY on linguistics for in order to be conscious human beings must comunicate such awareness. There is no self awarenes unless you share it with someone else.
    How that happens, when that started?
    Fascinating quest!

  3. Ricardo Neme Nasralla

    If G’d exists , must a) as to its constitution , it is what it wants to be . And so , the verb “TO BE WHAT WANT ” is his name . Each language has the pronunciation of his name . I speak Portuguese . In other languages the name of G’d is another . Example : My name is Richard English , Ricardo in Portuguese , French Ricard . How could ” praise the name ” of G’d without being that way ? The conviction that necessarily ” G’d is what he himself wants to be ” comes from an intellectual deduction , whether or not considered absurd . Personally believe that ten times G’d said YHWH meaning ” I AM THAT I WANT ” in Deuteronomy 5 6/21 .
    b ) as to their relationship with other beings , G’d is necessarily an angel ( messenger ) . God only seeks ( answers prayers and protect ) those who know intellectually that G’d ‘s angel, yet that meets prayer of those who know this unconsciously. We think MATTER TO KNOW THESE TWO THINGS ABOUT G’D.
    The following sentence will now be a shock to many people. G’D NEVER IS A SPIRIT AS TO YOUR PHYSICAL CONSTITUTION.

  4. Drs. Charles van den Berg

    The question of how to pronounce the name YHWH must has dominated the history and has affected even our theologies. And this question keep this many people in progress. In my personal opinion, Jeff Benner of the Ancient Hebrew Research Center has unique response on this question. His thesis is that this question finds his origination in a great lack of knowledge of the Hebrew language. He takes you into a beautiful lesson Hebrew, and close with a surprising answer to the question. Warmly recommended!
    (The Pronunciation of the name יהוה (YHWH)- Jeff Benner- Ancient Hebrew Research Centre.)

  5. Lida Hill

    הלל hey, lamed, lamed are the 3 Hebrew root letters of the word Hallelu. The root word is a piel binyan (qatal conjugation 3rd person masculine singular) Hillel which means “He praised”. Hallelu (הללו) on the other hand is the imperative form of the root word which means: You (plural) praise! Now when we add the Name Yah (יה) which is the short version of the Name of the Lord it becomes: הללו יה Hallelu Yah. You (people) praise Yah!

    Psalm 148:1

  6. Ricardo Neme Nasralla

    Name = power / ability / skill / appearance.
    YHWH = TO BE WHAT WANT. YHWH is a verb declinable solely by YHWH.
    Only humans give names according to their will.

    Rm Português explica-se melhor:
    Nome = poder/habilidade/capacidade/aparência em termos proféticos.
    YHWH´= SER O QUE QUISER. Ser o que quiser é uma expressão que no hebraico representa uma só palavra, um verbo conjugável e declinável unicamente por aquele que tem a capacidade expressada na própria palavra. Ex. EU SOU O QUE EU QUISER SER..
    Somente os seres humanos dão nomes de acordo com o seu desejo, com a sua vontade..