You Lifted Us from Amongst all the Languages

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  1. Sue Bernstein says:

    For depth on the inyon of mi kol lashonos, see R. Nathan Lopes Cardozo’s Between Silence and Speech, Chapter 3 “The Tower of Babel”. Secondly, in Kiddush for Yom Tov we say “mi kol ha AM.. mi kol ha LASHON”, singular. I can find no indication of why the singular, can you contribute to solve?

    • micha says:

      Mikol am… mikol lashon, without the hei hayedi’ah (ha-). But in any case…

      “Am” and “lashon” are being used here in the abstract. Not “elevated us from among all the nations”, but “elevated us from the common notion of nation”.

      But I don’t have a solid idea about how to answer the question I think you’re asking, why does Qiddush have
      אשר בחר בנו מכל עם, ורוממתנו מכל לשון
      but the Amidah has
      אַתָּה בְחַרְתָּנוּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, אָהַבְתָּ אותָנוּ וְרָצִיתָ בָּנוּ, וְרומַמְתָּנוּ מִכָּל הַלְּשׁונות וְקִדַּשְׁתָּנוּ בְּמִצְותֶיךָ….

      Thinking out loud, “Atah bachartanu” is a historical statement, and therefore we speak of the nations and language-communities. But when we speak of G-d in principle singling us out, it’s not just in comparison to existing examples of peoples, but in comparison to the concept of ordinariness.

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