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What Does Amen mean?

02.06.15

Question

At the "hadran' of a 'siyum' we conclude that paragraph by saying 'AMEN" 3 consecutive times. I've never seen a reason. I'm thinking that since that paragrapgh is recited 3 times, therefore logically, AMEN is said 3 times, or is there another reason. ???

Answer

To the Questioner,

The word "Amen" means: 1) What I just heard is true [i.e. confirming what was heard]; 2) I agree with the prayer and am praying for this as well [strengthening what was heard] (Mishna Brura,Siman 124 -25).

The advocating of truth and the strengthening for what was said by means of the word "Amen" is so great, that we find it can be considered as if a person actually swore, even by just answering the word "Amen" alone (Talmud Bavli Shavuot, 36a) - and especially if it was repeated twice (Ibid), as is quoted explicitly in the Torah (Bamidbar 5-22). 

Whenever we complete an order of Torah study, we customarily pronounce words of strengthening in order to give ourselves the encouragement to continue to advance even further in our Torah studies. This is true when we complete an entire Chumash of the Torah, and we customarily pronounce together with the entire congregation: "Chazak (="Strengthen"), chazak, venitchazek."

The reason the idea of strengthening is pronounced three times may be because the number three creates a "chazaka" (a set determinant) in Jewish Law. Although the word "Chazak" itself means "Strengthen", saying it three times gives it even more of a thrust to strengthen ourselves.

Similarly, when we conclude learning an entire tractate of the Talmud, the person who has completed the tractate customarily pronounces the word "Amen" three times. Although the pronunciation of the word  "Amen" even twice, already carries with it a strong message of strength, he pronounces it three times in order to give it even more of a thrust to strengthen ourselves toward continued study.

With Blessing, 
Rav Nachum

 

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