Friday, July 8, 2011

Got Siddur?

HaSiddur HaShalem:  On Tuesday July 12th @ 7:00 pm,  Dr David Katz will be presenting Didn't Know THAT Was in Our Siddur - about the words and phrases, sentences and paragraphs that somehow, mysteriously, appear (or disappear), unannounced, in our Daily Prayerbooks. 

אֲדון עולָם אֲשֶׁר מָלַךְ. בְּטֶרֶם כָּל יְצִיר נִבְרָא:
לְעֵת נַעֲשה בְחֶפְצו כּל. אֲזַי מֶלֶךְ שְׁמו נִקְרָא:
וְאַחֲרֵי כִּכְלות הַכּל. לְבַדּו יִמְלךְ נורָא:
וְהוּא הָיָה וְהוּא הוֶה. וְהוּא יִהְיֶה בְּתִפְאָרָה:
וְהוּא אֶחָד וְאֵין שֵׁנִי. לְהַמְשִׁיל לו לְהַחְבִּירָה:
בְּלִי רֵאשִׁית בְּלִי תַכְלִית. וְלו הָעז וְהַמִּשרָה:
וְהוּא אֵלִי וְחַי גואֲלִי. וְצוּר חֶבְלִי בְּעֵת צָרָה:
וְהוּא נִסִּי וּמָנוס לִי. מְנָת כּוסִי בְּיום אֶקְרָא:
בְּיָדו אַפְקִיד רוּחִי. בְּעֵת אִישָׁן וְאָעִירָה:
וְעִם רוּחִי גְּוִיָּתִי. ה' לִי וְלא אִירָא:
Yes, it's our old friend, Adon Olam.  Did you know that you can sing Adon Olam to exactly 18,365 different tunes?  I thought you might.  Abq Jew's personal favorites are Scotland the Brave and O Solo Mio, but he is also partial to Sloop John B.

More interestingly - how many of you can find the red-highlighted phrase (for they bow down to emptiness and vanity, and pray to a god who does not save) in your Siddur's version of the Alenu?

עָלֵינוּ לְשַׁבֵּחַ לַאֲדון הַכּל. לָתֵת גְּדֻלָּה לְיוצֵר בְּרֵאשִׁית
שֶׁלּא עָשנוּ כְּגויֵי הָאֲרָצות. וְלא שמָנוּ כְּמִשְׁפְּחות הָאֲדָמָה.
שֶׁלּא שם חֶלְקֵנוּ כָּהֶם וְגורָלֵנוּ כְּכָל הֲמונָם:
שֶׁהֵם מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לְהֶבֶל וְרִיק וּמִתְפַּלְלִים אֶל אֵל לא יושִׁיעַ:
וַאֲנַחְנוּ כּורְעִים וּמִשְׁתַּחֲוִים וּמודִים לִפְנֵי מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדושׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא:
שֶׁהוּא נוטֶה שָׁמַיִם וְיוסֵד אָרֶץ. וּמושַׁב יְקָרו בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל. וּשְׁכִינַת עֻזּו בְּגָבְהֵי מְרומִים:
הוּא אֱלהֵינוּ אֵין עוד. אֱמֶת מַלְכֵּנוּ. אֶפֶס זוּלָתו. כַּכָּתוּב בְּתורָתו. וְיָדַעְתָּ הַיּום וַהֲשֵׁבתָ אֶל לְבָבֶךָ.
כִּי ה' הוּא הָאֱלהִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל וְעַל הָאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת. אֵין עוד

Jonathan L Friedman, writing in the June 2009 edition of The Jewish Magazine, provides a complete history of the Alenu prayer.  Friedman notes:
In 1400 a baptized Jew spread a rumor that the passage "for they bow down to vanity and emptiness and pray to a god who does not save" was an attack on Christianity. In support of this view, he noted that the numerical equivalent of the word "emptiness" (varik) is the same as "Yeshua," the Hebrew name for Jesus. And because varik is also related to the word rok, meaning "spittle," it was customary for Jews to spit during this phrase—a practice anti-Jewish author Johann Andreas Eisenmenger (1655-1704) interpreted as a further insult to Christianity.
The result?  Text expunged. And that's why you probably won't be able to find that phrase in your Siddur.  HaSiddur HaShalem - the "Complete Siddur" - doesn't have it.  Nor does Siddur Sim Shalom, The Authorized Daily Prayer Book of Joseph H Hertz, or Abq Jew's Koren Siddur (printed in 1966).  But Abq Jew's Hebrew-only Siddur Rinat Israel, published in Israel in 1976, does.  Go figure.

Dr Katz's will be the fifth of seven presentations in Congregation B'nai Israel's Making Connections to Judaism series.  If you missed the first four - well, you missed the first four!  But don't miss this one (or any that follow).  This time, Abq Jew is tooting Dr Katz's horn!

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