Why does the prayer "Shomer Yisra'el" in Tachanun say in two of the verses the word גוי in the first and last phrase, but עם in the middle phrase?

שומר גוי אחד שמור שארית עם אחד ואל יאבד גוי אחד


שומר גוי קדוש שומר שארית עם קדוש ואל יאבד גוי קדוש


2 Answers 2


What I am writing is an idea that is recorded by the Malbim on chapter 1 verse 4 of Sefer Yeshayau.. (you can see it here in Hebrew) any errrors are the translator's (mine). He seems to say that the difference between "Goy" and "Am" is that "Goy": refers to a people who share (some of these things not necessarily all these things) ancestry, language, family, and possibly locale. "Am":refers to a group of people united under a leader, government or unified philosophy and act as a whole entity rather than the individual. I will try and llok into it more...

  • 3
    The question remains why each word was chosen for its respective part of the prayer.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 15:44
  • In English, that means goy = nation vs. am = state... sorta. Neat! Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 19:46
  • Also, is it then the "שארית" that makes the distinction? That though it's the full nation, it's the remainder of the state. Then the question of why remains but this helps get there. Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 19:48

I assume its a girsa thing because it happens during havdoloh too. I Daven nosach baladi-teimani/ RaMbaM. For Shabboth we say joyim not amim, same with havdoloh. I asks by rov who davens chassidishe nosach Sefard, and he said that the gemoroh in ( I forgot) mentions the text and he said it says amim not goyim. So the kasha in on RaMbaM. I truly believe its a girsa thing. Maybe someone who has the vilna edition of RaMbaM can check what the text is compared to the Mori kafih/frankel Misheh Toroh since the vilna edition usually changed the text according to it's own girsa instead of what RaMbaM wrote.

  • You must know that your Frankel Rambam set has a listing of the various Nuschaot in the different manuscripts/editions. Why not check there instead of asking someone else to?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 15:08
  • Because I don't use frankel I use kafih and magbili. Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 20:26
  • Don't you mean a Jirsa? And Mishne Thoroh?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 20:37
  • I don't think it's a Thow/Sov,but a regular Tow. Next time I comment on a post with ivrith, I'll transliterate my way to make you happy. But be warned there might be a flood of comments saying stop or I can't understand you. Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 20:46
  • mechon-mamre.org/i/3129n.htm halochoh jimmal: הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לַחֹל, וּבֵין אוֹר לַחֹשֶׁךְ, וּבֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל לַגּוֹיִים, וּבֵין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לַחֹל. Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 1:25

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