The Real Name of God: Embracing the Full Essence of the Divineby Rabbi Wayne Dosick
Of the many names of God commonly used in the Bible and other sacred literature, none is God’s real name. Every God-name, including YHWH, reflects only one of God’s many aspects, such as the loving creator, the militaristic authoritarian, or the all-knowing judge. None embodies the wholeness, the totality, the full Essence
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RELIGION / SPIRITUALITY
Of the many names of God commonly used in the Bible and other sacred literature, none is God’s real name. Every God-name, including YHWH, reflects only one of God’s many aspects, such as the loving creator, the militaristic authoritarian, or the all-knowing judge. None embodies the wholeness, the totality, the full Essence of God. Who then are we to speak to when we seek God? If you can’t truly know something until you know its name, how can we truly know God?
The culmination of years of translation research and etymological investigation, Rabbi Wayne Dosick’s work digs through many layers of presumption and deeply ingrained beliefs to reveal the real name of God hiding in plain sight in the Bible: Anochi. He shows how this sacred name unites all religions--both of the West and the East. The name Anochi enables us to finally meet the whole, complete, real God--both the grand God of the vast universe and the God of breath, soul, and heart who dwells within each of us.
This in-depth exploration of God’s name includes spiritual techniques, poems, guided prayers, and meditative chants to bring each of us into personal, intimate, and purposeful relationship with God. By knowing the real name of God, we can affirm the connection to the Divine at the core of our being. We can touch the face of God that resides deep within us all.
RABBI WAYNE DOSICK, Ph.D., is the host of the weekly internet radio program SpiritTalk Live, the spiritual guide of the Elijah Minyan Jewish Renewal community in San Diego, and the director of the Soul Center for Spiritual Healing with facilitators throughout the world. A former faculty member of the University of San Diego and the author of several books, including Living Judaism, he lives in La Costa, California.
“Rabbi Wayne captivated me from the start. This scholarly and accessible book guides us beyond contradiction to the True Name and, therefore, the Full Essence of God.”
“Rabbi Wayne Dosick introduces us to a holy interface with Divinity, a way for us to grasp humanly the utterly transcendent Ein Sof / Infinite God. How can we fulfill the mitzvah of our times, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ without recognizing that the Holy ‘I Am’ is an essential partner in every loving relationship? Rabbi Dosick is a powerful teacher for our times.”
“Rabbi Wayne Dosick is a highly creative and innovative thinker who has written a book that is engaging, easy to read, deeply satisfying, and very practical. Old theological mysteries are artfully solved. As a Christian, I now understand the Hebrew Scriptures in new ways that bring me further into the presence of the Living God. The prayers and meditations written by the good rabbi will open your heart and be a song for your soul.”
“Rabbi Wayne Dosick once again reveals his passion for religion, his quest for the Divine, and his commitment for both plumbing the depths and scaling the heights of faith and belief… He is fearless in his search for the spirit, as he explores meanings behind meanings, and worlds beyond worlds. His combination of intellect and inspiration are alive, warm, and embracing.”
“The Real Name of God is theology that reads like a mystery novel. With scholarship, personal reflection, and wisdom, Rabbi Wayne Dosick points to what is in plain view but overlooked in sacred text: God’s name is Anochi, “I Am,” the source of life and the longing to love who transcends and includes all that exists. Guiding both a celebration of Jewish expression and universal belonging, The Real Name of God evokes a life-throbbing, spiritually uplifting call by Anochi to each of us.”
“In these pages, Wayne Dosick has revealed himself to be a spiritual master of our time. With sensitivity and wisdom, Rabbi Dosick has written a work of rare religious meaning that will serve to instruct and guide all of us who search for the experience of God in our lives. This is a book of religious faith and depth.”
“Rabbi Dosick provides us with a brilliant and crystal clear understanding of the all-encompassing God of love. Surely this is a much needed message for all who are seeking a fresh and direct route into personal faith.”
“Rabbi Wayne Dosick provides an important entranceway for the spiritual seeker who has encountered the great Self and wondered how to connect. He allows us to identify personally and intimately with the Infinite Source of the universe.”
“With quality scholarship, the skill of a classical midrashist (interpreter of Scripture), the wisdom of Kabbalah and other spiritual teachings, Rabbi Wayne Dosick adroitly parses a broad array of biblical texts and life experiences, to offer new insights into the nature and name of God. Dosick also formulates religious chants and prayers that enable his readers to connect with this God within the universe and within the self. The Real Name of God speaks to pressing issues of our agethe reactionary growth of fundamentalist movements, the conflicts between religious traditions, the much-needed growing dialogue and search for unity across faith communities. This well-written, well-argued, provocative, and enlightening book should be of great interest both to individuals raised within the Western traditions and to all spiritually sensitive people.”
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Read an Excerpt
THE MYSTERY is solved.
By re-imagining and re-framing the context of the Bible’s original Hebrew text, and by translating the commonly accepted translations, we discover the real Name of God.
We will see that, in the biblical text, God’s real Name is expressed in two voices--the Voice of God and the voice of human beings. When God’s real Name is spoken in God’s Voice, it is when God in the fullness of GodSelf--the Wholeness, the Totality, the Everything of Source--comes to the fore and reveals the great awesomeness of God’s Being and the core of God’s most important teachings and guidance.
And, when God’s real Name is spoken in human voice, we will see that is when the speaker is fully in touch with the greatness, and the grandeur, and the soul-depth of the fullness of God Within.
Our first major premise in identifying the name of Source-God is that in Torah, Elohim is not--as we have always assumed--a Name of God. Rather, Elohim is the office that Source’s representative holds on Earth.
The Zohar, the central text of Jewish mysticism, understands this when it reframes the opening sentence of Torah. The familiar translation is: “In the beginning God (called Elohim in this text) created Heaven and Earth” (Genesis 1:1).
The Zohar retranslates: “With this beginning, the Unknown Concealed One created the palace. This palace [office] is called Elohim. The secret is: ‘With this beginning, He [the Unknown Concealed One] created Elohim’” [to supervise Heaven and Earth] (Z. Bereshit 1:15a).
So: “In the beginning,” we experienced the full Presence of Source in the Garden of Eden. But, after the fall of Adam and Eve--after the end of Earthly paradise--Source withdrew from Earth and, instead, appointed an aspect of Source to “stand in” for, to represent, Source on Earth--to act as God on Earth.
Just as the modern electorate elects a person to hold the office of president, so Source appoints an aspect of Source, a “deputy,” or representative, of Source, into the office of Elohim for a particular length of time and a particular purpose. So, in Torah, we see the name and title/office YHWH Adonai, Elohim much like we would see the name and title/office, “President Kennedy.”
The Torah itself provides affirmation. When God charges Moses with the task of going to Egypt to demand the release of the Hebrew slaves:
Elohim spoke to Moses and said to him, “I Am YHWH (Adonai).
“I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El-Shaddai, but I did not reveal to them My name YHWH (Adonai).”
El Shaddai was Source’s representative, holding the office of Elohim, for the purpose of establishing the covenant with the patriarchs. Now, a new representative named YHWH (Adonai) is entering into the office of Elohim for the purpose of confronting Pharaoh and bringing the slaves to freedom. El Shaddai and YHWH are each an aspect of Source. Throughout time, Source has appointed a number of different aspects of Source to serve in the office of Elohim, based on what human beings and the world require at any given moment. We have not met the whole God--Source--because, since the Fall, Source has never permanently put SourceSelf into the office of Elohim. Source has been hidden away from us--both in Earth-based relationship between Source and human beings and, purposefully, in the text of Torah.
The Hidden Name Revealed
Source--the real Name of God in the Bible--is ANOCHI (pronounced AH-NO-CHEE; the “ch” is pronounced as a guttural, as in the name of the composer Johann Sebastian BaCH; the “i” is pronounced as a long “e” as in bee or see).
The accent is on the last syllable, Ah-no-CHEE. But, in more colloquial speech, it is often pronounced with the accent on the middle syllable, Ah-NO-chee.
Anochi is literally translated from the Hebrew as “I.” Anochi is “I-Source”--the Wholeness, the Everything, the complete Essence of God.
Anochi is not an original Hebrew word. Its root is likely borrowed from ancient Sumerian, where the Anunnaki were believed to be the gods of Heaven and Earth. In this pantheon, the head god, An, and his wife, Antu, had three sons--En-lil, Enki, and Nanna. En-lil had a daughter, Enanna. Later, the Akkadians elongated the name An to Anu. In ancient Egyptian, the three letters ANX (others say: ANI or IKI) mean “the living,” or “alive,” indicating “Being-ness,” surely the first requisite and characteristic of a god--a living god who has the power to convey life. The Egyptian hieroglyphic character, ANKH, is the symbol of life--of conception, of lifetime on Earth, and of the afterlife. A later Jewish text (Pesikta Rabbati 105-106a) teaches that the Hebrew slaves in Egypt knew this Egyptian word.
The chi (chee) at the end of the word Anochi is either taken for emphasis from the Hebrew word kee, meaning “indeed,” or “surely,” or it is possibly taken from a related Semitic language, where it is a suffix meaning “I.”
The author(s) of the Hebrew Bible took in the name of Source from earlier civilizations, Hebraized it, and endowed it with the specific characteristics--particularly monotheism and covenantal relationship--that would make it unique to the early Hebrews.
In the Hebrew language, there is another word, Ani (ahnee) that means “I.” Ani is a simple declaration of first person singular--the small self, the personal ego.
Anochi holds the much more complex richness of “I, Myself; the Wholeness of My Being; the ‘Me-ness of Me,’ the full ‘Essence of Source.’”
All this is affirmed in the word Anochi itself. One of the beauties of Anochi is that it is a genderless Hebrew word. It holds the wholeness of both the masculine and the feminine aspects of God, the complete Essence of Source, of I-Source.
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Meet the Author
Rabbi Wayne Dosick, Ph.D., is the host of the weekly internet radio program SpiritTalk Live, the spiritual guide of the Elijah Minyan Jewish Renewal community in San Diego, and the director of the Soul Center for Spiritual Healing with facilitators throughout the world. A former faculty member of the University of San Diego and the author of several books, including Living Judaism, he lives in La Costa, California.
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