Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Vanity and Emptiness

“They bow down to vanity and emptiness and pray to a god who does not save them …” (from Aleinu, based on Yeshaya 45,20). The numerical values of the words emptiness (316) and to a god who does not (92) are identical to the names of specific individuals who espoused heretical beliefs. These hints were purposely inserted into this prayer in order to express disdain for their ideologies.

After non-Jewish authorities launched vicious attacks against Jewish communities due to Aleinu’s insult to their supposed savior, censors worked relentlessly to have this line erased from the siddur altogether. Until this very day, there are some siddurim which print this part of the Aleinu prayer in parentheses or not at all. Since this verse is an integral part of Aleinu, one should make sure to include it.

For some people, even the slightest reference to heretical beliefs arouses such revulsion that they have a custom to pretend to spit before continuing with the next line, “and we bend down” (Taz Yoreh De’ah 179,5). This is meant as a symbolic gesture, and one should not actually spit in a way that could disgust others. Since one is acting for the sake of defending the Divine glory, this is not included in the prohibition against spitting in a shul (Steipler, as cited in Orchos Rabbeinu 1,68).


Text Copyright © 2011 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Seeking Counsel - When and Where
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Burden of Reproof
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Orlah - No Shortcuts?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Holy, or Not Holy - That is the Question!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Fun vs. Pleasure
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Accepting Time
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

ArtScroll

Basic Recognition
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

The Joys of Animal Noise
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Growth Period
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Holiness Happens
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

The Counting of the Omer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Beyond Common (In)Cense
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

> Prisms of Light - Reflections of Shattered Glass
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

What's an Omer?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Love Your Neighbor
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

...And Hear It We Must
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information