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In the first blessing of the Amidah, there's part that often says וְקוֹנֵה הַכּל ("and creates everything"). It looks like this in many siddurim, e.g. ArtScroll, Lev Shalem, and Mishkan T'fila. You can see a version like this on MyJewishLearning.

Chabad sources however drop the vav ("and") and just say קונה הכל. E.g. here they have a text and a matching recording. (the other version I can find on Chabad, their transliteration, is the same) Similarly, Edot HaMizrach does not have the vav (thanks to Rabbi Kaii pointing this out in a comment).

Why do these diverge? I was under the impression that the Amidah was standardized in the Mishnaic period. The only other variations in the Amidah I'm aware of are more recent theological divergences (adding the Matriarchs, or מתים to הכל to dispute resurrection of the dead). Does this difference represent some sort of theological point, or is it just an accident of textual divergence through history?

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  • Note also that the old nusach Eretz Yisrael (paralleling Genesis 14:19) א-ל עליון קונה שמים וארץ has no vav.
    – Joel K
    Mar 21, 2023 at 17:25
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    There are literally dozens of other differences among extant versions of the amida.
    – Double AA
    Mar 21, 2023 at 17:33
  • Then I'm curious the same question more broadly: is this just a matter of "typos" as the text flowed through time and place rather than something more meaningful? Was the standardization in Mishnaic times not so standard? Mar 21, 2023 at 18:51
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    @Cannoliopsida Plenty of the former with a healthy handful of [overzealous] editors. See the answer below for some people tinkering with the text to make a symbolic anagram work. Only in the late medieval period do we find people writing word counts of blessings and other such mnemonics and error correction techniques, which may imply that before that people were less worried about subtle changes, focusing instead on the macro structure (whatever that means).
    – Double AA
    Mar 21, 2023 at 21:06

1 Answer 1

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Shaar Hakolel brings from the Pri Etz Chaim that קונה is supposed to be an anagram of ונקה, the 13th Attribute of Mercy, which is why it's spelled with an extra ו. He says that other versions avoid altering the word by adding a ו to the beginning instead, and goes on to defend Chabad's version. Based on his reasoning, וקונה would seem to be the worst of both worlds, possibly a distortion of וְקֹנֵה.

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