During the repetition of the Amidah for both days of Rosh Hashanah, most Ashkenazi communities recite piyutim entitled ה׳ מלך. On the first day, the format is relatively simple, being arranged in a regular alphabetical acrostic (with three verses for ת, due to the threefold nature of the refrain). However, on the second day, a more complex acrostic structure exists, although I am not quite sure how to view it. Furthermore, the third line of each stanza begins with the words "אילו ואילו," "These and Those."

My question here is twofold:

What is the purpose for the more complex (and frankly baffling) acrostic structure?

What is the rationale for using אילו ואילו? Is it supposed to be a reference to the Talmudic principle?

  • Note that Rabbi Shimon of Mainz typically used complex acrostic structures, especially those referencing his kidnapped son Elchanan (as in the interlaced acrostic in this piyut, beginning in the stanza "kol yakirei yofi", and in the first piyut of birchos k'riyas Sh'ma' of the second day of Rosh HaShana - "Melech Amon Ma'amar'cha").
    – Fred
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


The acrostic structure for the second day version of Hashem Melech is the name of the author: Shimon Bar Yitzchak. The last stanza starts with the traditional Chazak ( Cha-shmalei Zik-im).

Regarding the "Eilu v'Eilu" refrain, it could very well be a reference to the Talmudic principle, but it as the two sets aren't contradicting each other (as they do in the Talmud) it doesn't exactly fit. I'll keep looking for a more relevant reference.

Found something! Yechezkel 40:37- ואילו, לחצר החיצונה, ותמרים אל-אילו, מפו ומפו

Here Yechezkel is describing the structure of the future Beis Hamikdash, where the flanking Tamarim are described through אילו ואילו. Though the vowelization is off (eilav), it specifically connotes twinned parties operating in tandem, connected with explicitly holy imagery. This may be a better fit for the contextual meaning of the piyut.

  • While the expression "eilu v'eilu" evokes the Talmudic phrase, it's used differently here as a liturgical device to compare the otherwise radically different angels and humans in terms of their shared declaration of HaShem's kingship.
    – Fred
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 17:49
  • I concur, which is why I put it in there. I'm looking to see if there's another source that uses Eilu that fits better with the usage in the piyut. Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 17:53
  • @IsaacKotlicky, I'm aware of the origin of eilu va'eilu. I just noticed that those are the only instances of that phraseology outside of halachic and hashkafic literature. Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 18:08
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt Clearly - you included it in your question! I was just explicating it for the rest of us. Anyhow, I added a possible second source that contextually fits better but linguistically is slightly worse. Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 18:29

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