Anu ma’amirekha ve’Atah ma’amireinu

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Anu ma’amirekha ve’Atah ma’amireinu. Artscroll renders this line from the machzor as referring to we as Hashem’s designated, and Him as our designator.I would like to suggest a different translation. The mishnah says that Hashem created the world with “eser ma’maros — ten utterances”. Ma’amar means utterances, and in particular, Chazal associate it with the ten statements through which Hashem created the world. Existence is words. The Ba’al Shem Tov stresses that the idea is speech, not writing. Texts are written, and then continue to exist afterward. Spoken words exist as long as they are being spoken. For light to exist now, it means that Hashem is still saying the words “yehi or” even today. The words themselves are the phenomenon we call light.

I therefore believe the relationship described is “We are your statement, and You are the One Who speaks us.”

And your thoughts...?

  1. That is interesting, but the ‘maamirecha’ means ‘those who speak you (or your name)’ or ‘those who cause your name to be said’, not ‘those who are spoken by you’. ‘maamir’ is one who speaks of something, it is the nominative. Your explanation of ‘maamirenu’ works though.

    Perhaps we could rework the ‘maamirecha’ part to say that we, Israel, are the ones who not only speak G-d’s name and G-dliness in this world, but also we cause others to speak of G-d. It is through our coronation of G-d during the days of awe that G-d is King (kvyachol), for by being subjects, we make him king. Also, we spread the word, so to speak, to the rest of the world, and act as a light unto the nations, to cause G-d to be known to the rest of the world. We brought the world monotheism.

    I think this works better with the hebrew grammar.

  2. Perhaps you are right homiletically, which certainly would be in place in interpreting these poetic words.

    However, we find the term in “es Hashem he’emartoh hayom,” and also in the context of korbonos, “eimurim.” In the korbon context, the term is thought of as “the elevated parts.” Here too, we would say it means elevated, as in the sense of kiddush sheim shomayim.

  3. I’m not sure you can assume “he’emarta” and “ma’amar”. What I found interesting was that the mishnah about creation uses “ma’amaros”.

    Also, the whole pattern of the poem is to acknowledge that Hashem is in control, and we are the controlled. Declaring His kingship or Unity, as Mevaseret Zion suggests and you (Barzlai) seem to agree, or His designating us, which is what Artscroll’s translation says, breaks that pattern.

  4. We will just have to agree to disagree. A paytan, if he were referring to those pesuqim, would have used “he’emirekha” and “he’emireinu”. It fits the rhythm, keeps the sound of the pasuq, and more importantly, changing the diqduq changes meaning. “He’emir” is to atest to the truth of something particularly because it’s in hif’il conjugation. A “ma’amar”, without the causative, is a statement.