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I am learning about prayer services and was wondering what is "ya’aleh v’yavo" and when do we insert the “ya’aleh v’yavo” language into our davening?

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Yaaleh VeYavo (literally: it should go up and come) are the first unique words of an paragraph inserted into all non-Musaf prayers (ie. Shemoneh Esrei/Amida) as well as the Grace After Meals on biblical Jewish holidays (that is, Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot (all 7 days), Shemini Atzeret, Pesach (all 7 days), Shavuot, and Rosh Chodesh).

You can find a number of variant versions of it here. One version with an English translation can be found on the 6th page of this pdf in the second gray box (the page is labeled #92).

In it, we pray for God to remember us and our merits and bless us on holiday X (roughly speaking). It is important as it is the primary vehicle whereby we mention the holiday in prayers (something we are supposed to do) and its omission usually (and there are specific exceptions) necessitates repeating the prayer in question.

  • A summary of when it needs to be repeated if completely forgotten: In Amidah - always other than Maariv Rosh Chodesh.... In Birkat Hamazon - only on Yom Tov but not Chol Hamoed or Rosh Chodesh. Some say there is no need on Rosh Hashanah either and 3rd meal and beyond on other Yom Tov days. – CashCow Mar 9 '15 at 12:29
  • וכל שיש בו מוסף כגון ר"ח וחולו של מועד שחרית ומנחה מתפלל שמונה עשרה ואומר קדושת היום בעבודה רבי אליעזר אומר בהודאה ואם לאו מחזירין אותו ובמוספין מתפלל שבע ואומר קדושת היום באמצע שבת ויום הכפורים מתפלל שבע ואומר קדושת היום באמצע רבן שמעון ב"ג ורבי יוחנן בן ברוקא אומרים כל מקום שמתפלל שבע אומרים קדושת היום באמצע. from the tosefta but without nussach. – kouty May 13 '16 at 3:26

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