There is a passage in the third bracha of Shemoneh Esrei said on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (at least in Nusach Ashkenaz) that reads as follows:

ועלותה תקפץ פיה וכל הרשעה כלה כעשן תכלה כי תעביר ממשלת זדון מן הארץ

And iniquity will close its mouth, and all wickedness will evaporate like smoke, when You remove evil’s domination from the earth.

The above translation follows ArtScroll. Problem is, זדון doesn’t exactly mean “evil” - the word, from the same root as the term מזיד, more accurately refers to intentional sins, not just sins in general.

If the intent of the paytan was as ArtScroll translates, why didn’t he use the phrase כי תעביר ממשלת רעה, which would indeed translate to “when You remove the dominion of evil”? And if his intention was different, then what was his intention behind this particular choice of phrase?

  • I think most likely it's a proper noun: the Evil Dominion (probably the Romans?). BTW in the regular Amida's blessing of Lameshumadim you have the similar expression ומלכות זדון במהרה תעקר ותשבר – Double AA Oct 8 at 17:47
  • @DoubleAA Not in Nusach Ashkenaz (who don’t say lameshumadim anyway). Is that Eidus HaMizrach? – DonielF Oct 8 at 17:53
  • It is in all Nuachaot, especially Ashkenaz. (Are you accidentally using a Christian censor's made up text instead of your ancestors'?) – Double AA Oct 8 at 17:54
  • @DoubleAA ArtScroll has והזדים מהרה תעקר ותשבר ותמגר ותכניע במהרה ובימינו - do you refer to that line? There, the usage makes sense - in the context of מלשינים and רשעים and, in other girsaos, מינים and apparently משומדים, talking about specifically intentional sinners seems only natural. (Why would we daven for unintentional sinners to be killed, anyway?) – DonielF Oct 8 at 17:56
  • Indeed the subtle change from "the Evil Kingdom" to "the evil doers" was a clever way given the context to placate the Christian governmental censors. (So clever it even fooled Artscroll!) – Double AA Oct 8 at 17:59

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