The Aleinu prayer – or more properly the Aleinu leshabei'ach (‘It is our Duty to Praise God’) prayer – is one that is said daily by jews when the Ark is closed. (1)From the excellent truth site, "Semitic Controversies," always a pleasure--and enlightening--to read!
It runs as follows:
‘It is our duty to praise the Master of all, To ascribe greatness to the Author of creation, Who has not made us like the nations of the lands, Nor placed us like the families of the earth;
Who has not made our portion like theirs,Nor our destiny like all their multitudes. For they worship vanity and emptiness, And pray to a god who cannot save.
But we bow in worship and thank, The Supreme King of kings, The Holy One, Blessed be He, Who extends the heavens and establishes the earth, Whose throne of glory is in the heavens above, And whose power's Presence is in the highest of heights, He is our God; there is no other.
Truly He is our King, there is none else, As it is written in His Torah: "You shall know and take to heart this day, That the Lord is God, In the heavens above, And on earth below. There is no other."’ (2)
The key lines are:
‘For they worship vanity and emptiness,
And pray to a god who cannot save.’
These were held by Christians to be a reference to Christianity and thus the jews were ordered to expunge these two lines from the Aleinu in circa 1300 for the Sephardim and in 1703 for the Ashkenazim. (3) This was based on the testimony of a jewish convert to Christianity named Pesach Peter; who pointed out that the Hebrew word ‘varik’ [i.e. ‘and emptiness’] had the same numerical value (i.e. 316) according to jewish numerology as Jesus and was a secret anti-Christian slur. (4)
The reality is that Pesach Peter’s statement is supported by the contemporary assertion of Rabbi Abraham ben Azriel that the Hebrew words for ‘vanity and emptiness’ used in the Aleinu prayer have same numerical value – according to jewish numerology – as ‘Jesus and Mohammed’. (6)
(1) Joshua Kohn, 1973, ‘The Synagogue in Jewish Life’, 1st Edition, Ktav: New York, p. 123; Tzvee Zhavy, 2000, ‘Jewish Piety’, p. 183 in Jacob Neusner, Alan Avery-Peck (Ed.), 2000, ‘The Blackwell Companion to Judaism’, 1st Edition, Blackwell: Oxford
(2) From Jonathan Sacks, 2009, ‘The Koren Sacks Siddur’, 1st Edition, Koren: Jerusalem
(3) Barry Freundel, 2010, ‘Why We Pray What We Pray: The Remarkable History of Jewish Prayer’, 1st Edition, Urim: New York, p. 233; http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/the-bible-says-what-is-aleinu-an-anti-christian-prayer/
(4) Freundel, Op. Cit., p. 233
(5) For example Claude Montefiore, Herbert Lowe, 1960, , ‘A Rabbinic Anthology’, 1st Edition, Jewish Publication Society of America: Philadelphia, p. 367; Reuven Hammer, 2003, ‘Or Hadash’, 1st Edition, The Rabbinical Assembly: New York, p. 51; Kohn, Op. Cit., p. 124
(6) Freundel, Op. Cit., p. 233
So what do you think? Don't think too long GOYIM, we need your brain back for our pleasure!
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