O Adonai


O Adonai,
and Leader of the House of Israel,
who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush,
and gavest him the Law on Sinai:
come and redeem us by Thy outstretched arm.

I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name ‘The Lord I did not make myself known to them. 
     Ex 6.3

There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed...God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’
     Ex 3.2–6

See also Ex 19 for the giving of the Law

Adonai is the Hebrew word for ‘Master’ or ‘Lord’ and is commonly used in place of the proper name of the God of Israel, yhwh, whose exact pronunciation and exact meaning are not certain. (As revealed to Moses in the burning bush, the Name is somewhat inscrutable, meaning perhaps ‘I Am What [or Who] I Am’, or ‘I Am That Which [Who] Causes To Be’; at some point the Name came to be considered too holy to utter except by the High Priest when he entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement – which occasion ceased with the destruction of the Temple; and given that Hebrew is anciently and ordinarily written without signs for vowels, the exact pronunciation was in time lost). This is why yhwh is replaced in most English translations of the Hebrew Scriptures with ‘The Lord’, and where the word ‘Jehovah’ comes from – a misunderstanding of the practice of writing the vowels of ‘Adonai’ with the consonants yhwh. The divine Name is the object of much contemplation in mystical Judaism, as are the ninety-nine names of God in Islam; the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ evokes its own reverence borne of the Tradition’s witness to its power and the admonition that every knee should bow (ordinarily enacted with a simple bow of the head at its mention), and is celebrated with its own feast on 1 January.