Jewish Journal

Mr. Halakhah, tear down this prayer!

by JewishJournal.com

March 30, 2008 | 11:58 pm

Some Jews want the Catholics to remove from their liturgy a prayer that calls for the conversion of the Jews.

The over-hyped and amateurish ‘Fitna’ video asks Muslims to strike certain verses from the Koran.

What’s next, censoring the Aleinu?

Ooops, been there done that!

Missing from most contemporary recitations of the Aleinu prayer are these lines, thanking God because he didn’t make us like the other Nations . . .

. . . for they bow to vanity and emptiness
and pray to a god which helps not

This was considered anti-Christian by European religious authorities and Jews themselves removed the offending lines.

Later, however

Many learned rabbis tried to prove how wrong the accusations against this prayer were, based on the facts that the phrase found to be offending is found in Isaiah,20 that the composition of the prayer was pre-Christian. If Rav (not Joshua) was the author, it was written in a non-Christian country. The censors remained adamant and renewed their attacks in 1716 and again in 1750. The vehement opposition to this phrase resulted in it being deleted from the Ashkenazic prayer books. The Sephardim, especially of Oriental countries, retained it, and in recent years it has been restored to many Ashkenazic prayer books at the insistence of many authorities, especially Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin.

All religions have ‘difficult texts.’

We have to acknowledge and learn to accept them as products of their times, not hide them, destroy them or pretend they’re not part of the canon.

Phone call for Mr. Amalek!

—The Web Guy

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