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Issue #68 - 01/11
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Eli Dahan

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El –Shaddai- One of the first names of G-d

One of the most important covenants between The Almighty and human being can be found in Genesis 17. G-d asked Abraham to be loyal to him as written in Genesis 17:1-

Abraham

"וַיְהִי אַבְרָם, בֶּן-תִּשְׁעִים שָׁנָה וְתֵשַׁע שָׁנִים; וַיֵּרָא יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם, וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי-אֵל שַׁדַּי--הִתְהַלֵּךְ לְפָנַי, וֶהְיֵה תָמִים"

"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him: 'I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou wholehearted."

Today we will follow this name of G-d, El –Shaddai, as it appears in the Old Testament.
The meaning of this name could be understood in few ways. If we look at this name in the book of Genesis, we can find it as the name that Isaac, the son of Abraham used to bless his son Jacob (see Genesis 28:3) and also G-d used when he met Jacob in Bet-El as we can find in Genesis 35:10-11-

Jacob

"וַיֹּאמֶר-לוֹ אֱלֹהִים, שִׁמְךָ יַעֲקֹב:  לֹא-יִקָּרֵא שִׁמְךָ עוֹד יַעֲקֹב, כִּי אִם-יִשְׂרָאֵל יִהְיֶה שְׁמֶךָ, וַיִּקְרָא אֶת-שְׁמוֹ, יִשְׂרָאֵל.

 וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אֱלֹהִים אֲנִי אֵל שַׁדַּי, פְּרֵה וּרְבֵה--גּוֹי וּקְהַל גּוֹיִם, יִהְיֶה מִמֶּךָּ; וּמְלָכִים, מֵחֲלָצֶיךָ יֵצֵאוּ."

"And God said unto him: 'Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name'; and He called his name Israel. And God said unto him: 'I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;"

 

In these entire three places, we can see a context of fertility and reproduction (shad in Hebrew means breast), in two of them G-d changed the name of the hero. Abram's name has been changed to Abraham; Jacob's name has been replaced to Israel.

The first meaning of El-Shaddai relates to the fathers, especially Abraham and Jacob, and this meaning is also written directly in The Scriptures, as we read in Exodus 6:2-3-

"וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה; וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, אֲנִי יְהוָה.

 וָאֵרָא, אֶל-אַבְרָהָם אֶל-יִצְחָק וְאֶל-יַעֲקֹב--בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי; וּשְׁמִי יְהוָה, לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם."

"And God spoke unto Moses, and said unto him: 'I am the LORD; and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name YHWH, I made me not known to them."

Though Genesis 4:26 contradicts the exposure of the new name of G-d, The Lord, we are interested in El- Shaddai today, and this verse from Exodus agrees with our argument that Shaddai means the G-d of the fathers, The G-d of family, The G-d  who give life to his chosen heroes.
 
Other meanings of Shaddai are:
A. the one who is enough, The G-d who is the one and only, we don’t need another G-d or gods beside him and this relates to the idea of monotheism. This interpretation takes the word Shaddai and divides it into two. The first is the letter "Shin", that we use in Hebrew for the relative clause; the second is the word "dai", which mean enough
.

B. some try to find the root of the word Shaddai, and their commentary is that the root is "Shin- Dalet- Dalet" , meaning powerful or almighty.

C. If we compare the name Shaddai to the Acadian word "shadû" we will learn that The Meaning of this name will be the G-d of mountains. If we compare it to the Egyptian equivalent, we will get the opposite meaning, the G-d of plain.

As for me, I think that El- Shaddai is the one that contains all in one , He is the one that we can find in the mountains, in the plain. He is the Almighty, that sometimes even he is using his strength too much as Naomi said to the city of Bethlehem in Ruth 1:20-

Naomi and Ruth

"וַתֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶן, אַל-תִּקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי:  קְרֶאןָ לִי מָרָא, כִּי-הֵמַר שַׁדַּי לִי מְאֹד."

"And she said unto them: 'Call me not Naomi; call me Marah; for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me"

 

Let me wish you a sweet and not bitter week, Eli.
 

 

 

 
Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

 

Hebrew   Transcription   Translation 
פִּרְיוֹן   piryôn   Fertility 
אֵל שַׁדַּי  'ēl šaday  The almighty
הִתְרַבּוּת   hitrabbût   Reproduction 
הַר   Har   Mountain 
מִישׁוֹר   mîšôr   Plain 
דַּי   day   Enough 
אַבְרָהָם   'abrāhām   Abraham 

  

 

 
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