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(This might have to be closed/migrated as about language. I'm not sure.)

In the Ya'aleh V'yavo prayer, there is an opening string of verbs. Based on what I recall of Hebrew grammar, each is written in the (gender neutral masculine) third person ("He" or "it"), singular, future tense: "It should rise, it should come, it should arrive" etc. These verbs should have an object -- a singular noun which would be what the pronoun "he" or "it" replaces.

After this list there is the phrase "zichroneinu ufikdoneinu" (rendered as "the remembrance and recollection of us," here). There are then 4 other "remembrances." The object of "it should rise" is then plural (either the "remembrance AND recollection" or that grouping plus the other 4 groupings) . Shouldn't the text then read "ya'alu, v'yavo'u" etc?

The Artscroll siddur avoids this by translating presuming that "ya'aleh" means "may there rise" which creates the numberless concept of a "rising" which would then include multiple elements. Wouldn't that be better written as "yihiyeh aliyat, uvo'at...zichroneinu ufikdoneinu"?

Is there some explanation that has all 5 of the "remembrances" as one collective "remembrance" or is there a way of understanding the prayer that has the verbs, though written in the singular, allowing plural nouns?

  • Do you mean subject or object? – magicker72 Oct 9 '17 at 0:45
  • That's part of the problem -- if the concept replaces the pronoun (it) then it is a subject of the verb, but if there is an external concept of rising which is the object verb - there should be a rising of X -- (as per the Artscroll) then what is that? – rosends Oct 9 '17 at 0:57
  • Rise, arrive, and come are all intransitive verbs. They take no object. – magicker72 Oct 9 '17 at 1:00
  • Except that the translation in the Artscroll posits something as the object of a preposition as per my earlier comment "there should be a rising of X" but never discloses what that concept is which then has constituent parts (remembrance of...) – rosends Oct 9 '17 at 2:09
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I would suggest that there is an implied repetition of the verbs before each of the subsequent Zichronot (ie Ya'aleh...V'Yizacher Zichron Avoteinu, Ya'aleh...V'Yizacher Zichron Mashaich ben David Avdecha etc). Perhaps the reason that the verbs aren't in the plural, is that the core of the prayer is for Zichroneinu-uFikdoneinu - our rememberance, with the requests for the other rememberances, Jerusalem, the Mashiach etc, being secondary. Consistent with this is that the second half of the prayer starting from Zochreinu, is specifically for "us".

One possible analogy to this is in Psalm 136, where I think there is the implied word "Hodu" (which appears explicitly - followed by "Le..." - in the first 3 verses and the last verse) at the start of the verses starting with "Le...".

  • But isn't zichroneinu ufikdoneinu a list of 2 items? That would still be a plural. – rosends Oct 16 '17 at 1:20
  • I would suggest that zichroneinu is the main item, and pikdoneinu is the first of the extra ones, as well as really being a synonym for zichroneinu. – Mark Symons Oct 31 '17 at 2:29

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