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


 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

How Did Pharaoh Do It?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Leaving Mitzrayim: It Is All For OUR Good
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Yield Right of Way
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Victories and Triumphs
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768

A Thing or Tu 'bout Shvat
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Separating the Men From the Boys
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

ArtScroll

Tu BeShevat
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

A Good Night's Sleep
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Well-Bread Jews
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Nothing's More Natural Than Nature
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Israel's Secret Weapon
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Essentially New Again
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

> Don't Squander It
Rav Frand - 5768

Thanks for the Suffering
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5756

Better to Be the Pursued Than the Pursuer
Shlomo Katz - 5760

How to Always Be Happy
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756



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