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In light of this answer, why do we say V'imru amen and V'nomar amen at various points in bentching and davening when saying that passage alone? (eg. bentching by yourself, or oseh shalom at the end of one's silent amida) It sounds like these phrases were instituted for scenarios with group participation.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

I would think that it is better, if possible, to incorporate group participation for these things as much as possible. However, even alone, one says "ואמרו אמן" and the like. Why? I will quote R' Yaakov Emden (regarding the phrase said at the end of the Amida to conclude "Elokai N'tzor"), but do not assume that I know what he means:

.ואמרו אמן - אף ביחיד אומרו. כלפי המלאכים המלוים אותו‏
literally: "And say ye amen": even in solitude he says it, toward the angels/messengers who are escorting him.

EDIT: I just found this P'ri Megadim (EA 189:1) who writes (regarding the conclusion of the Harachaman section in Birkas Hamazon) that when alone, one should not recite "ואמרו אמן" or "ונאמר אמן", but rather just "אמן". [It looks like most siddurim don't follow this, though.]

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Similar idea here in the Rokeach's peirush on tefillah hebrewbooks.org/… – Double AA Feb 2 '12 at 5:41
Just to add to this answer. Once we have a text, it takes a lot of public pressure to change it between when saying it alone or saying it to the group. I'm not aware of any times we do that. – avi Feb 2 '12 at 7:22
@DoubleAA that Rokeach is, according to the footnote there, quoting the Magen Avraham 66:27 — which doesn't seem to exist. – msh210 Feb 2 '12 at 16:55
@msh210 Yes i noticed that. Also, the rokeach lived well before the magen avraham. I assume it's just the footnote guy trying to reference us to someone else who says a similar idea, but failing. – Double AA Feb 2 '12 at 16:57
@DoubleAA, my thoughts exactly — unless the Rokeach really is quoting the Magen Avraham (another book of the same title). – msh210 Feb 2 '12 at 16:58

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