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It is a Hebrew tradition that the name of God is not written or spoken. Various substitutes are used in the Hebrew Bible, often using a descriptive title rather than a name, and as was common 2,000 years ago, without vowels. The most commonly used is known as the Tetragrammaton, and transliterates as YHWH, or JHVH and roughly translates as “He is” or more commonly as “I am”. It is the basis of the words Yahweh and Jehovah. The Tetragrammaton appears over 6,000 times in the Hebrew Bible.


Other words used translate as Elohim (over 2,600 times), Adonai (over 400 times) and El (over 200 times). The Hebrew vowels ( “used for Yahweh come from the Hebrew word for “Lord (aleph dalet nun yud). It is a plural form of the word Adon, used to indicate dominion, a form known as “pluralis excellentiae”, using the plural to mean excellencies rather than many.

Over the years, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) has used several coats of arms approved by the government. The coat of arms adopted in 1815 has the words “Kodes la Adonai” or “Holiness to the Lord” emblazoned on its crest. According to Albert Mackey in “An encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its kindred sciences”, “Adonai is used as a significant word in several of the high degrees of Masonry, and may almost always be considered as allusive to or symbolic of the True Word.”

Adonai Lodge of Highland, NY is unique

When the brothers of southeast Ulster County petitioned the Grand Lodge of the State of New York to form a lodge in Highland, as was a common practice, they requested the name of the meeting place, Highland Lodge. For reasons lost in history, Grand Lodge changed the name of the lodge to Adonai Lodge. There is currently no other Adonai Lodge in North America or Israel, and it is believed there is no other Adonai Lodge currently in the World. In addition, searches of various archives have not turned up another Adonai Lodge at any time in the past.

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