Many have the practice to recite, in the prayer following Shemoneh Esrei, a verse that starts and ends with the same letter as their name, or that contains their name, or both. This is considered a source of merit. In this series, we will briefly analyze these verses.

רְאֵה זֶה מָצָאתִי אָמְרָה קֹהֶלֶת אַחַת לְאַחַת לִמְצֹא חֶשְׁבּוֹן

“Behold, I have found this,” said Koheles, “adding one to another to calculate the account.” - Koheles 7:27

The verb “said” in this verse is in the feminine – but isn’t Koheles another name for King Solomon? Actually, the word “koheles” comes from the verb meaning to gather and it is only masculine when referring to Solomon (the gatherer), otherwise it is feminine. Rashi cites the Midrash that when G-d’s “spirit” inspires people, it can sometimes speak in the masculine and other times in the feminine. For example, Psalms 70:6 and 40:18 each speak of a helper, but the former is in the masculine and the latter in the feminine. Similarly, Nachum 2:1 and Isaiah 40:9 each mention a herald, the former in the masculine and the latter in the feminine.