1

There is a strikingly unusual translation in The Artscroll Selichos Siddur1.

In several translations I have seen over the years, the last words of "Ashamnu", "תָּעִינוּ, תִּיעְתָּעְנוּ" are translated as2:

... we have gone astray, we have led others astray.

But the Artscroll Selichot siddur translates them as:

... we have strayed; You have let us go astray.

(Images of these translations in their original respective volumes are provided in this PDF.)

What might be the grammatical rationale or the theological philosophy behind the Artscroll translation? How do they differ from those of behind the more typical choice?

Update: Artscroll replied to the above question (that I sent them) as follows:

"There are different ways to translate the word, and it is simply inaccurate to characterize our translation as "so far from the plain meaning," especially since our translation follows numerous commentators and poskim.

Offhand, I would cite the Chayei Adam (end of 243:1) who explains the meaning of תעתענו as: תעתענו ר"ל שהנחת אותנו על בחירתנו להיות תועים.

Again we appreciate your giving us the opportunity to clarify this and wish you and yours a kesivah vachasimah tovah."

Any thoughts?


1. Translated by Yaakov Lavon, Mesorah Publications, 1992.

2. As exemplified here by The Authorised Selichot for the Whole Year, translated by Rev. Abraham Rosenfeld, Judaica Press, 1984.

  • Presumably Artscroll was bothered by the implication that God leads us astray. Therefore they rendered it "allow to go astray". – mevaqesh Sep 27 '16 at 3:39
  • @mevaqesh The alternative translation presented does not make such an implication. – Isaac Moses Sep 27 '16 at 14:58
  • @IsaacMoses I was answering the first part What might be the grammatical rationale or the theological philosophy behind the Artscroll translation, not the second part How do they differ from those of behind the more typical choice? It seems presumable that once they understood that that the subject of the word is God, that they would introduce the element of passivity rather than the implies activity on his part. This is the only theological issue I can think of that was likely a driving force in the translation. – mevaqesh Sep 27 '16 at 16:13
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    @mevaqesh fair enough. – Isaac Moses Sep 27 '16 at 16:14

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