The Diversity of God’s Names
Rabbi Daniela Szuster
“God spoke to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the Lord, I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them by My name YHVH.’” (Sh’mot 6:2-3)
This is the beginning of this week’s parashah. Several questions arise from these words, concerning the names of God. God affirms that he appeared before the patriarchs in a particular way, as El Shaddai, while He reveals Himself before Moses with the name of Adonai (YHVH).
What does this difference in God’s revelations mean? Why did God choose to appear as El Shaddai before the patriarchs and as Adonai before Moses? What do each of these names represent? Is one of them more important than the other? These words hold a large spectrum of mysteries as regards to God’s names.