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11
votes
11answers
380 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]?

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
7
votes
1answer
207 views

Davening in front of a picture of 'Avodah Zarah

This afternoon I found myself Davening in a classroom. It must have been a comparative cultures type of class, judging by the items that were hanging on the walls - posters and artwork and such. As I ...
3
votes
4answers
149 views

What advice do the sages give for improving one's concentration in prayer?

Following up on Isaac's question seeking experience-based advice to improve his prayer:, I am seeking something a bit different. I remember reading some advice on the subject given (I think) by Rav ...
23
votes
21answers
648 views

Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I tend to daven (pray) without sufficient focus and very quickly. In particular, I find that most of the time that I'm praying, my mind is on things other than the words that I'm saying. And, not that ...
4
votes
2answers
297 views

Am I yotzei in my davening if I believe that God communicated with Mohammad?

I have been reading through the various questions about Islam and its relationship to Judaism, and about the Rambam's view that Islam is a monotheistic religion and not idolatry and I am wondering: If ...
9
votes
2answers
256 views

Mundane activities on Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av should be spent focusing on the destruction of Jerusalem and Beit haMikdash; but is it permissible to do daily chores as well? For example, this year, Tisha B'Av is postponed one day ...
6
votes
2answers
179 views

Sh'ma aloud but amida quietly

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 61:4: We are accustomed to reading the first verse [of "Sh'ma"] in a loud voice in order to arouse the direction [of our thoughts]. SA OC 101:2: But he should not ...
2
votes
2answers
155 views

What kavanos should one have when sharpening a challa knife Erev Shabbos?

What are some kavanos should one have in mind when sharpening a challa knife on Erev Shabbos? I'm sure I heard that there are kavanos but never learned what they are.
8
votes
3answers
183 views

How to inspire tears in davening?

Rebbe Nachman said that it is especially powerful to allow tears to flow during the Amidah. How does one come to tears? What thoughts should one have while davening to allow tears to flow in order to ...
7
votes
1answer
536 views

Keeping in mind the meaning of every word of prayer, vs. being mindful of general concepts

If I were to sit down with my prayer book, I could translate it. I know what the words mean, and I know what they are saying conceptually. However, when I'm praying, if I try to translate in my head ...
21
votes
4answers
298 views

Glasses and Shema

The Shulhan Aruch records the custom of placing one's hand over his eyes in Shema in order to increase concentration. What about someone who wears glasses? Must he move them or remove them?
13
votes
1answer
190 views

How do I say vidui in Selichos in a meaningful way?

We say vidui three times in selichos. Many words are uttered in a relatively short time. How can we do this in a meaningful way that is not "vidui peh"? I have heard tell of one of the gedolei ...
11
votes
3answers
240 views

Finding the quiet section of the synagogue

When you enter an unfamiliar synagogue, how do you find a seat in a section that's likely to have the least talking?
7
votes
1answer
172 views

What to think about during each shofar sound

There are all kinds of meanings traditionally associated with the shofar blowing, as well as with each of its individual sounds. During the Rosh Hashana service, we have many sets of repetitions of ...
6
votes
5answers
379 views

May we intervene with Religious OCD sufferers?

On what level may we (or may we not) intervene with OCD sufferers when they are not related to you in any way? I am referring to a sizable demographic of religious OCD sufferers, who don't ...
6
votes
2answers
135 views

“Hit him with a hammer until he pays attention!” Literally?

Abaye makes a rather harsh judgment on someone who is unattentive in prayer (Ber. 34a): Hit him with a hammer until he pays attention! Is this meant to be taken as Halachah? Or is it just meant to ...
6
votes
3answers
128 views

Barchu or Kavana

If you are late to Maariv and miss barchu and you normally daven slowly should you... Daven faster, even if it means saying the words with little to no Kavana so that you can say Barchu at the end. ...
4
votes
1answer
133 views

Repeating words in prayer

If I have a lapse in concentration during a few words in davening, it improves my davening tremendously to be able to go back and force myself to immediately say those words again, properly. I find ...
2
votes
3answers
138 views

No real kavanah?

There is an interesting principle and ruling established by the Smak, the Tur, and the Rama: One who davens and did not focus on his prayer, if he knows that he can pray again and focus, he should ...
1
vote
5answers
327 views

What makes prayer take so long?

I have noticed that some people take a lot longer to pray than others. I was wondering what exactly adds to this length? I do understand it's probably thinking of the meaning of the words etc. but ...