The Tetragrammatan: YHVH/Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh
The Kabbalah focuses on the nature of Deity and the relationship between Deity, the world, and humanity. It is considered ancient transmitted doctrine, but also emphasizes personal experience. While Kabbalistic Judaism never ceases belief in strict monotheism--the ultimate Oneness of Deity--that monotheism is integrated with the belief that the One Deity has a number of different persons, attributes, or emanations.
In addition to perceiving Deity to be a complementary duality of feminine and masculine, Kabbalah also perceives Deity to be a family of Father, Mother, Son, and Daughter. Both Father and Son are aspects of the Lord; and both Mother and Daughter are aspects of the Shekhinah.
Among the names of the Hebrew God in the Bible is Yahweh--YHVH in Hebrew. These four letters are referred to as the Tetragrammatan. Each letter came to represent in Kabbalistic theology a distinct familial aspect of Deity: Y (Yod) representing Deity as Father; H (Heh) representing Deity as Mother; V (Vau) representing Deity as Son; and the second H (Heh) representing Deity as Daughter. This Tetrad is not unlike the Canaanite-Hebrew Tetrad of El-Asherah-Baal-Astarte.
Father Yod and Mother Heh are considered inseparable in permanent embrace, and filled with great unceasing mutual love for each other. According to the Zohar:
"The Father and the Mother, since they are found in union all the time and are never hidden or separated from each other, are called 'Companions.'... And they find satisfaction in permanent union."
Son Vau and Daughter Heh are considered both siblings and consorts. They have both a passionate and contentious relationship with each other. Both are given numerous names and attributes. Son Vau is considered to be Sky, and Daughter Heh is considered to be Earth. Son Vau is also commonly called the King. Daughter Heh is also called Night, Moon, Sea, and the Matronit.
Son Vau and Daughter Heh are thought to have wedded and embraced nightly in Solomon's Temple. Cherubim (Angels of Love) were born from Their embrace. With the destruction of the Temple, Son Vau is believed to have withdrawn into Heaven, while Daughter Heh is believed to have accompanied the Hebrews into exile.
Kabbalists believe that humans can impact the Divine Couple. When Israel sins against Yahweh, it is believed to cause a quarrel and separation between Son Vau and Daughter Heh. Separation weakens Son Vau, who cannot act without Daughter Heh. They are hoped to be reunited on the Day of Atonement.
Similarly, an unloving or adulterous human relationship is believed to cause the Divine Couple to quarrel. Conversely, a loving relationship between human spouses is believed to help reconcile Divine Son Vau and Daughter Heh. Pious Jews pray, do good deeds, and have sacred union with their spouses to help bring about the reunification of Son Vau and Daughter Heh, which will restore peace and order in the world.
[Primary Source: R. Patai, The Hebrew Goddess (1990). See also C. Matthews, Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom (1991); T. Schipflinger, Sophia-Maria (1998); G. Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead (1991); G. Scholem, Kabbalah (1974); G. Scholem, On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism (1965).]