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QUESTION

New York, NY

If calling up a Bat Mitzvah for the maftir aliyah, should you change חזק to חזקי? Is it a command? Or is it an adjective and should be חזקה? Or is it an adverb/exclamation and should just stay חזק?

ANSWER

I’m assuming you mean at the end of a sefer. It’s a command wish, “Be strong!” So yes, it should be חזקי (for those women who read Torah at women’s Torah readings or partnership minyanim), based on the pasuk שמואל ב י:יב,

(יב) חֲזַ֤ק וְנִתְחַזַּק֙ בְּעַד־עַמֵּ֔נוּ וּבְעַ֖ד עָרֵ֣י אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ וַֽה֔’ יַעֲשֶׂ֥ה הַטּ֖וֹב בְּעֵינָֽיו:

“Be strong, and we will be strong!”

מצודת דוד שמואל ב י:יב,

(יב) חזק ונתחזק – חזק אתה והעם אשר עמך וגם אנו נתחזק:

It can also be seen in the Minhag of Sephardim after each aliyah, where the kahal says חזק וברוך and he responds חזקו ואמצו.