A practice in listening. Below is the song transliterated from hebrew into english. Below that is the meditation. See if you can listen to the prayer while practicing this simple meditation. PDF here.
When I came to america I noticed that not all prayers are the same everywhere. The alienu prayer is but one example. When I was in an orthodox synagogue there was an additional sentence in the first paragraph:
שהם מתפללים להבל וריק ומתפללים אל אל לא יושיע
“for they bow to vanity and emptiness and pray to a god which helps not”
In the year 1400, a baptized Jew seeking to prove his loyalty to the church spread the slender that this sentence was meant to slur Christianity. He proved his contention by the coincidence that the numerical value of וריק emptiness is 316 which is the same numerical equivalent to the word Jesus in Hebrew, ישו. The charge was refuted time and again particularly by the 17 century scholar Manasseh Ben Israel, but repeated persecutions and church insistence backed by government enforcement caused this line to be dropped from most Ashkenaz prayer books. And that is why you will not find it in our Shaarie Torah prayer book!
Aleinu le’shabeiach la’adon hakol,
lateit gedulah leyotzeir bereshit,
she’lo asanu ke’goyei ha’aratzot,
ve’lo samanu ke’mishpechot ha’adamah,
she’lo sam chelkeinu kahem,
ve’goraleinu ke’chol hamonam.
Va’anachnu korim, u’mishtachavim, u’modim,
lifnei melech, malchei ham’lachim,
hakadosh baruch Hu.
She’hu noteh shamayim, ve’yoseid aretz,
u’moshav yikaro bashamayim mi-ma’al,
u’sh’chinat u-zo be’gavhei me’romim.
Hu Eloheinu, ein od. Emet malkeinu, efes zulato.
Kakatuv be’torato, ve’yadata hayom, ve’hashevota Eil le’vavecha.
Ki Adonai, Hu ha-Elohim, bashamayim mi-ma’al,
ve’al ha’aretz mi-tachat. Ein od.
Kakatuv be’toratecha: “Adonai yimloch le’olam va’ed.”
Ve’ne’emar: “Ve’haya Adonai le’melech al kol ha’aretz,
bayom hahu yihiyeh Adonai echad, u’shemo echad.”
It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to acclaim the greatness of the One who forms all creation. For God did not make us
like the nations of other
lands, and did not make us the same as other
families of the Earth. God did
not place us in the same situations as others, and
our destiny is not the same
as anyone else’s.
And we bend our knees, and bow down, and give
thanks, before the Ruler,
the Ruler of Rulers, the Holy One, Blessed is God.
The One who spread out the heavens, and made the
foundations of the Earth,
and whose precious dwelling is in the heavens
above, and whose powerful
Presence is in the highest heights. Adonai is our
God, there is none else.
Our God is truth, and nothing else compares. As
is written in Your
Torah: “And you shall know today, and take to
heart, that Adonai is the only
God, in the heavens above and on Earth below.
There is no other.”
Therefore we put our hope in You, Adonai our God,
to soon see the glory of
Your strength, to remove all idols from the Earth,
and to completely cut off
all false gods; to repair the world, Your holy
empire. And for all living flesh
to call Your name, and for all the wicked of the
Earth to turn to You. May all
the world’s inhabitants recognize and know that to
You every knee must
bend and every tongue must swear loyalty. Before
You, Adonai, our God,
may all bow down, and give honor to Your precious
name, and may all take
upon themselves the yoke of Your rule. And may
reign over them soon
and forever and always. Because all rule is Yours
alone, and You will rule
in honor forever and ever.
As it is written in Your Torah:
“Adonai will reign forever and ever.”
And it is said: “Adonai will be Ruler over the
whole Earth, and on that day,
God will be One, and God’s name will be One.