When one desires to concentrate on every word of the first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, as required, in order to fulfil the obligation of daily prayer, when he gets to the words "magen Avraham," should the intention when he says "magen" be "shield" and then the intention of "Avraham" be "of Avraham," like it indicates in the interlinear Artscroll translation, or should he think "shield of" when saying "magen" and "Avraham" when saying "Avraham"?

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    Besides for the semantics may I propose that there is an actual difference. “Shield of, Avraham” would be that Hashem is the shielder of Avraham so the active “person” here is hashem where as if you were to translate it “shield, of Avraham” that would mean that Avraham is the active person and the shield is just an object being used.
    – mroll
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 9:11
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    I like the point that @mroll is making, as Iyun Tefilah says the word magen is a "toar", in other words, it is not just a simple noun, meaning "shield". It is a term describing the act of shielding that Hashem does for Avraham. This is in line with your translation "Shielder", as opposed to "shield".
    – shmu
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 10:55
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    I don't think that concentrating on every word necessarily means translating it into English. If you're praying in Hebrew and you understand it, you don't have to line them up with their English translation
    – b a
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


If you understand the terms, think "magen" (knowing it means "shield of") when you say magen and Avraham (knowing it means "Abraham") when you say Avraham.


It says in the commentary Iyun Tefilah (Siddur Otzar Hatefilos) that the word "Magen" in "Magen Avraham" is a "toar", and it means "Mageino shel Avraham".

Accordingly, both ways are correct.


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