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In Shema Kolenu, based on the Posuk in Psalms 38:22 we say the phrase:

Al Taazvenu Hashem Elokenu Al tirchak mimenu | Don't leave us Hashem Our God Don't distance yourself from us.

The interesting thing is that, although it seems many people have a custom whilst reciting this phrase to join the words Hashem and Our God together and put a comma after the word God (and, indeed, there are Siddurim that have a comma at this point in the text), this appears to be incorrect. When one checks the Posuk that the phrase is based upon in the Tehillim, there is a break after the word Hashem, and the phrase Our God is part of the next clause.

The way most people seem to have a custom to say it:

Don't leave us Hashem Our God; don't distance yourself from us.

The (seemingly) correct way, following the verse:

Don't leave us Hashem; Our God don't distance yourself from us.

I always thought people were just ignorant of the fact that that it is not joined in the Posuk. But when I heard a Choshuve Rov daven for the Amud and he said that together, I had to ask him what is the Pshat. He told me that he knows that it is not the correct way according to the Posuk, but he has a minhag to say it like that, and that it might possibly come from Muncatch. He could offer no further details.

Can you tell me when this Minhag started and who started it?
Can you tell me why this Minhag started?
Or have you got another reason to judge favourably the thousands of Yidden who otherwise seem to be reading it wrong?

share|improve this question
In the Nusach Ari Selichos (published by Kehos) the posuk is printed with the comma after אלקינו. Also note that the posuk it is not an exact quote from Tehilim. – Michoel Sep 13 '12 at 12:28
@Michoel thanks – Yehuda Sep 13 '12 at 14:16
The Selichos was printed in 2005. Interestingly, in the old editions there is no comma. – Michoel Sep 13 '12 at 22:09
Rosenfeld 1956 edition has a full-stop between "HaShem" and "Our G-d" (end of sentences get a colon, so I assume it is meant as a comma). – Seth J Sep 16 '12 at 3:51
I just happened to use it and noticed AND remembered to comment. :) – Seth J Sep 16 '12 at 11:54

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