- Question: [Tuesday, 23rd Shevat 5782]
On Rosh Chodesh, is one to recite Magdil or Migdal in Bentching? I would appreciate if you can elaborate also on the meaning behind this change of wording and why it is done on specific days?
When reciting Birchas Hamazon on Rosh Chodesh, one recites “Migdal” as opposed to “Magdil.”
Explanation: The Nusssach of the end part of Birchas Hamazon is an addition from the Nussach established by Anshei Kneses Hagedola, and there exist various traditions regarding its wording. In regard to the word Migdal versus Magdil, a tradition on this matter is first recorded in the Abudarham and Mateh Moshe, which is later recorded by the Magen Avraham and Admur in both his Siddur and Shulchan Aruch. They write that on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and Rosh Chodesh the custom is to say Migdol, while during the regular week the custom is to say Magdil. The two words are found in different verses in Scripture with nearly the same wording. In Shmuel 2 22:51 it states “Migdol Yeshuos Malko Veoseh Chesed Lemishicho.” While in Tehillim 18:51 it states “Magdil Yeshuos Malko Veoseh Chesed Lemishicho.” The literal difference in translation between the two words is that the word Migdol refers to a tower, while the word Magdil refers to being great. In essence, also the term tower refers and alludes to greatness and is rooted in the same word Gadol. However, when comparing the two words, the word Migdol refers to a greater greatness than the word Magdil. In the words of the Magen Avraham [based on Abudarham] “the word Migdol with a Vav refers to a great King, while the word Magdil with a Chirik, without a Yud, refers to a small king.” The reason that on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and Rosh Chodesh one is to say the word Migdol is because there is greater revelation of God on these days, and hence the term which refers to higher greatness is to be used. Alternatively, the reason is because the verse in Tehillim was written prior to Dovid having become king, while the one in Shmuel was written after he became king, and hence the verse in Shmuel emphasizes greater kingship, which is more befitting to be said on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and Rosh Chodesh.
Sources: See regarding the Nussach at the end of Bentching: Admur 189:7 See in general regarding saying Migdol versus Magdil: Admur 189:7 and Siddur Admur; M”A 189:1; Darkei Moshe 189:1; Olas Tamid 189:1; Abudarham Seder Birchas Hamazon; Mateh Moshe 341; Kneses Hagedola 189; Siddur Arizal; Mishnas Chassidim Motzei Shabbos 9:15; Ben Ish Chaiy Chukas 19; Kaf Hachaim 189:11; See regarding Rosh Chodesh that one is to also say Migdol: Admur 189:7 and Siddur Admur; M”A ibid; Mateh Moshe ibid; Siddur Arizal; Mishnas Chassidim Motzei Shabbos 9:15; Kneses Hagedola 189 that so is the custom; Ben Ish Chaiy ibid; Kaf Hachaim 189:11