According to the talmud, Rosh Hashanah 10b,

  1. On Rosh Hashanah, Sarah, Rachel and Chanah were designated to give birth, Yosef was released from prison, and the slavery in Egypt ceased.

from here.

This is referenced in the Artscroll Rosh Hashanah machzor in the footnotes on page 312 ("She was one of the four childless women...")

But later in the Shacharit (day 1) service, there is a prayer which begins "Em asher b'tzedek nityashna" (page 318). This prayer has the line "v'shalosh akarot shehafk'du b'zeh yom" -- the THREE barren ones who were remembered on this day.

Was it 3 or 4, and why (if it is 4) would this text refer to three?

  • 1
    Perhaps you could clarify this; it appears that the piyyut is consistent with te Gemara, but not with Artscroll, right? (As it appears now, it looks like you are saying that Artscroll is consistent with the piyyut).
    – mevaqesh
    Oct 5, 2016 at 2:43
  • 1
    Could this just be a typo in Artscroll? What edition did you check?
    – Double AA
    Oct 5, 2016 at 4:45
  • The Artscroll says "one of the four childless women including..." and the "including" is followed by the list of 3 which made me wonder if there was a fourth.
    – rosends
    Oct 5, 2016 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


There were, indeed, four woman (the fourth being Rivka).

Only the first three were "remembered" on Rosh Hashona. Hence, the Artsroll is correct when referring to the historical fact that four women were baren. However the piyut intended to invoke the merit of which they were remembered on Rosh Hashona, and hence only mentioned those that were remembered. (See Marsh"a Rosh Hashona 10b for a partial explanation of why these were remembered, and why on Rosh Hashona)

  • 1
    How do you Rivka was the fourth? And why doesn't the Talmud include her in the list?
    – Double AA
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:32
  • The footnote specifically mentions her. As to why only the talmud doesn't mention her: the talmud is listing those barren woman who were remembered on Rosh Hashana. Obviously Rivka wasn't one of them! Se Marsha, ibid, for an (unsatisfying) allusion as to the reasoning.
    – Mbrevda
    Oct 5, 2016 at 18:46

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