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עָלֵינוּ לְשַׁבֵּחַ (ספרד)‏ | Aleinu l’Shabei’aḥ, translated by Rabbi David de Sola Pool (1937)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

Standing

עָלֵֽינוּ לְשַׁבֵּֽחַ לַֽאֲדוֹן הַכֹּל
לָתֵת גְּדֻלָּה לְיוֹצֵר בְּרֵאשִׁית׃
שֶׁלֹּא עָשָֽׂנוּ כְּגוֹיֵי הָֽאֲרָצוֹת
וְלֹא שָׂמָֽנוּ כְּמִשְׁפְּחוֹת הָֽאֲדָמָה׃
שֶׁלֹּא שָׂם חֶלְקֵֽנוּ כָּהֶם
וגֽוֹרָלֵנוּ כְּכׇל־הֲמוֹנָֽם׃
שֶׁהֵם מִשְׁתַּֽחֲוִים לְהֶֽבֶל וָרִיק (ישעיה ל:ז חלק)
וּמִתְפַּלְּלִים אֶל־אֵל לֹא יוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃ (ישעיה מה:כ חלק)
וַֽאֲנַחְנוּ מִשְׁתַּֽחֲוִים לִפְנֵי מֶֽלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים
הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא׃
It is for us to praise the Lord of all,
To acclaim the might of the yotser of creation.
For THEY have not made us heathens,[1]goyei aratsot — lit. the nations of the Earth. By translating goyei aratsot instead as “heathens,” Rabbi de Sola Pool is reinforcing a reading of this prayer as a statement of faith that does not contravene that of other Abrahamic declarations of faith, a complaint famously leveled against this prayer since the 14th century. I would also note that the de-emphasis of a national-political reading here also prevents it from re-inscribing a conception of Israel as being fated to be perpetually landless, and thus allows the people of Israel to “land” centered, as with other peoples and nations.
Nor allowed us to be a pagan people;[2]mishpaḥot ha’adamah — lit. the clans of the fertile-earth. See note above.
Nor given us the inheritance
And the destiny of the masses
That bow down to vanity and hollowness,[3]cf. Isaiah 30:7.
“And pray to an el that saves not.”[4]Isaiah 45:20 part.
[5]It is customary to bow here. But we bow ourselves before the supreme King of kings,
The blessed Holy One.

שֶׁהוּא נוֹטֶה שָׁמַֽיִם
וְיֹסֵד אָרֶץ.
וּמוֹשַׁב יְקָרוֹ בַּשָּׁמַֽיִם מִמַּֽעַל.
וּשְׁכִינַת עֻזּוֹ בְּגׇבְהֵי מְרוֹמִים׃
הוּא אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וְאֵין עוֹד אַחֵר.
אֱמֶת מַלְכֵּֽנוּ וְאֶֽפֶס זֽוּלָתוֹ.
כַּכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה׃ 
וְיָדַעְתָּ֣ הַיּ֗וֹם
וַהֲשֵׁבֹתָ֮ אֶל־לְבָבֶ֒ךָ֒
כִּ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ ה֣וּא הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים
בַּשָּׁמַ֣יִם מִמַּ֔עַל
וְעַל־הָאָ֖רֶץ מִתָּ֑חַת
אֵ֖ין עֽוֹד׃ (דברים ד:לט)
It is THEY [who] stretched forth the heavens
And laid the foundations of the earth.
THEIR glorious abode is in the heavens above,
The domain of their might in exalted heights.
THEY are our elo’ah, there is no other,
In truth our King, there is none else.
Even thus it is written in the Torah:
“This day know
and lay it to thy heart,
that YHVH is Elohim
in the heavens above
and on the earth beneath.
There is none else.”[6]Deuteronomy 4:39.

The traditional attribution of Aleinu to Rav (Abba Arikha by Aybo, ca. 3rd c.) is due to his having set this portion of the prayer service for Rosh haShanah containing this prayer.

Aleinu is optionally read with a separate prayer, Al kein in the Sepharadi liturgical custom.

I have added citation references and additional annotation. I have also replaced archaisms including the gendered divine masculine with the singular THEY/THEIR. –Aharon Varady

Source(s)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. goyei aratsot — lit. the nations of the Earth. By translating goyei aratsot instead as “heathens,” Rabbi de Sola Pool is reinforcing a reading of this prayer as a statement of faith that does not contravene that of other Abrahamic declarations of faith, a complaint famously leveled against this prayer since the 14th century. I would also note that the de-emphasis of a national-political reading here also prevents it from re-inscribing a conception of Israel as being fated to be perpetually landless, and thus allows the people of Israel to “land” centered, as with other peoples and nations.
  2. mishpaḥot ha’adamah — lit. the clans of the fertile-earth. See note above.
  3. cf. Isaiah 30:7.
  4. Isaiah 45:20 part.
  5. It is customary to bow here.
  6. Deuteronomy 4:39.

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