By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, September 2, 2009
Supermarkets in Israel now stock salt with added yod. No, they haven’t figured out a way to infuse a favourite condiment with the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet — yod refers to iodine.
How yod came to signify both a letter and a chemical is quite straightforward. Iodine derives from the Greek iota, the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet. Iota, in turn, comes from the Hebrew letter yod.
Whereas iota and its English cognate “jot” suggest a very little part or amount, Hebrew uses the saying “kutzo shel yod”, the little peak on the upper left corner of the letter.