There are things that we say in davening in Aramaic. I have seen a few explanations as to why (as per this Q and A) but I don't know where Ushpizin fits in with that. I'm not sure if anyone would call Ushpizin a "prayer" so I don't know if its language is up for discussion as other things' are.

Unlike Ha Lachma Anya (are parts of the Haggadah considered "prayers"?), we don't need the common man to understand this invitation as it is aimed at the souls of biblical figures -- are we assuming that they don't know Hebrew? Are we saying something that we don't want angels to understand? Or is this just a case of "it was written in a text which was in Aramaic so, whatever"?

2 Answers 2


In my book Lashon HaKodesh: History, Holiness, & Hebrew (Mosaica Press, 2015), on page 232 I wrote:

This idea comes up again in another, closely related, discussion. According to Kabbalah, on each day of the seven-day Sukkos festival, one of seven historical Jewish forefathers “visits” all the Jews’ sukkos as a spiritual guest known as Ushpizin (אושפיזין” ,guests” in Aramaic). Customarily, a special prayer in Aramaic is recited each night to “welcome” them. Rabbi Yosef Palagi (1815–1896) explains why this prayer is written specifically in Aramaic. He argues that if it was in Lashon HaKodesh, then the ministering angels would prosecute those who recite these prayers for only inviting these “spiritual guests” on Sukkos, but not inviting poor people as guests year-round. Therefore, those prayers are recited in Aramaic so that the ministering angels will not understand them.

Source: Yosef Es Echav (Izmir, 1896), pg. 5b.

  • 1
    It seems a very good book!
    – kouty
    Commented Oct 4, 2020 at 3:24
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    Is it really worth protecting people who invite the ushpizin while forgetting about the poor people? Would Avraham even accept such a invitation??
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 0:16
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    The Zohar is written in Aramaic , it’s a quote.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 8:19

Well by halachma anya there are reishonim (Ritva..) that explain why it's in aramaic because we dont want to invite the demons or angels lest they persecute us. That reason would apply to why we invite the ushpizin in aramaic as well. (These reishonim hold angels don't understand aramaic. See gemara shabbos 12b)

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    Maybe I'm missing something but isn't there a clear difference? By Pesach we invite anyone who needs a seder...which maybe would include angels or demons. Sukkos we invite specific people...why would angels or demons come
    – robev
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 21:10

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