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Some time ago, I had the prayer book of the US Conservative movement in my hands for praying Birkat haMazon, the prayer after a meal. I followed the text in Hebrew and was not expecting any surprises, but there it was [transliterations/translations are further down, keep on reading]:

כִּי אִם לְיָדְךָ הַמְּלֵאָה. הַפְּתוּחָה. הַגדוֹשָׁה וְהָרְחָבָה.

No, nothing to do with the “expected liberal/Conservative stuff” like mentioning women alongside the men or cutting out pieces that have to do with the temple. Look again at the usual text that my siddur has and all others that I had seen until then and see if you can spot the difference:

כִּי אִם לְיָדְךָ הַמְּלֵאָה. הַפְּתוּחָה. הַקְּדוֹשָׁה וְהָרְחָבָה.

The usual version has “your full (מלאה), open (פתחה), holy (קדושה) and wide (רחבה) hand”. The other version has “your full (מלא), open (פתחה), overflowing (גדושה) and wide (רחבה) hand”. So we have holy, kedushah (קדושה) versus overflowing, gedushah (גדושה). At first I thought it was a typo, but when I showed it to one of the rabbis at the table he said this that may actually be the original text and over time the unfamiliar word gedushah became replaced by the very similar sounding and more familiar word kedushah.

So I started to do some digging. A search for texts, transliterations or translations of Birkat haMazon didn’t yield a single version with the word gedushah (please tell me if you find one!), but many with kedusha (for example here or here). My attempt at a Hebrew search found only a forum entry where someone said “interesting, we say gedushah” (and that was the full extend about that topic). But then in my English search I found that someone has asked that same question to Chabad:

QUESTION: It should have said, “yadecha hakedoshah” — “Your holy hand” — before describing His benevolence? It does not seem to fit between the descriptions of “open” and “generous”?
ANSWER: In the Ba’al Shem Tov’s hand-written Siddur, which was acquired by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, and is currently in the library of Agudat Chassidei Chabad, instead of “hakedoshah” — “holy” — it says “hegedushah” — “overflowing” — (as in “maleih vegadush” — “full and overflowing”). […] The letters gimmel, yud, chaf, and kuf (גיכ”ק) emanate from the “chaich” — “palate” — and due to their similarity they are at times interchangeable. […] Hence, it is possible here, too, that in “hakedoshah” the “kuf” is interchanged with the “gimmel” and it actually means “overflowing.”
(Questions and Answers on Blessing After a Meal by By Moshe Bogomilsky)

The answer contains two citations, ברוך שאמר, ועי, which I haven’t time to find yet, and this one:

ואומרים: “כי אם לידך המלאה הפתוחה, הקדושה והרחבה, שלא נבוש ולא נכלם לעולם ועד”. ויש אומרים גם “ולא נכשל”. ויש סידורים שבמקום “הקדושה” כתוב “הגדושה”, כלומר: לשון גודש, שנותן כביכול יד מלאה עם גודש.
[And they say “because of your full, open, holy and wide hand, we will never be humiliated or put to shame”. And some people say also “we will no falter”. And there are prayer books where instead of “holy” it is written “overflowing”, as it is said: Expression(?) of abundance, a full hand that seemingly gives with abundance(?).
(Arush haShulchan 188:6)

And while translating that quote (me! I am translating! From Hebrew!) I found an interesting article about the topic, in the Hebrew edition of HaAretz (of all places): כי אם לידך המלאה, הפתוחה והגדושה (or, as Google Translate says: “But to your full, open and large hand”) by Ben-Zion Fishler. It has more quotes and old siddurim. So there you have it, Conservative movement siddur that I forgot the name of, you have me convinced. From now on I will pray about the “overflowing” hand that gives in abundance.

Btw: Google Translate gives me “Congestion, which supposedly gives a hand full of congestion.” for “לשון גודש, שנותן כביכול יד מלאה עם גודש.” – very poetic!

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