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24
votes
21answers
686 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
331 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
191 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
11answers
404 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]?

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
11
votes
3answers
244 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?
11
votes
5answers
475 views

Should I be shuckling?

I was told that shuckeling (sp?) is an indication of the love-fear relationship that we have with God. You move forward showing that you want to be close to God and then backward out of fear of his ...
10
votes
2answers
233 views

Are you Yotzei Mikrah Megillah if you're spacing out?

The Mishnah in Megillah (2:2) says that one who reads the megillah while semi-asleep ('מתנמנם') is yotzei. The gemara comments (18b): מתנמנם יצא וכו': היכי דמי מתנמנם אמר רב אשי נים ולא נים תיר ...
9
votes
3answers
143 views

How can I find meaning in saying selichot?

I have always had a problem connecting with the selichot. In my shul they are said in a very rushed, impassionate fashion, mainly due to the need for people to get to work. I don't understand most of ...
9
votes
2answers
259 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 ...
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
229 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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
538 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
71 views

Source that “Yehi Khevod” should be said with special intensity

Some editions of the ArtScroll siddur have the following instruction before Yehi Khevod (in pesukei dezimra): The following prayer should be recited with special intensity. What is the source ...
7
votes
1answer
115 views

What is the correct kavanah when going to war?

I am specifically talking about going to war that is a mitzvah such as the wars fought while conquering Eretz Yisroel in the beginning of the Neviim and the mitzvah we have and will fulfill of ...
7
votes
3answers
148 views

What is the difference between תקיף and בעל היכולת and בעל הכוחות כולם?

The Shulchan Aruch says: ובהזכירו אלהים, יכוין שהוא תקיף, בעל היכולת ובעל הכֹחות כֻּלם When saying G-d's name אלוקים one should have in mind that G-d is תקיף, בעל היכולת, ובעל הכחות כולם. These ...
6
votes
5answers
414 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
62 views

What are the Levels of Kavanah?

In Rabbi Donin's book, To Pray As A Jew, he says that reading a prayer book to find out what it says, or to relish its beauty of poetry, does not qualify as prayer. He says that to transform reading ...
6
votes
3answers
98 views

Holding a child during bentching,kiddush,havdallah

Is there any reason to say that its problematic to hold a child during bentching and so on... because one is thinking about not dropping what he is holding,like by Shmoneh Esrei (96:1) one should not ...
6
votes
2answers
185 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
132 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
165 views

Why does the mitzvah of Sukkah have a stated meaning that its practitioner must have in mind?

The pasuk states (Vayikra 23:43): לְמַעַן, יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם, כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם in order that your [ensuing] ...
6
votes
2answers
136 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
139 views

Prayer with Negative Kavvanah

The status of prayer without Kavannah I think has been dealt with. My question is negative kavannah. Examples of Negative Kavannah are: "I don't want to pray but it wont look good ( or I'll get ...
5
votes
2answers
112 views

Too fast or no minyan?

Suppose the only minyan available for someone to attend is one which moves far too fast for him. Even with arriving early and starting ahead of time, he only has time to say a fraction of psukei ...
5
votes
0answers
118 views

How can I stop spacing out during davening? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]? Any suggestions for improving concentration or advice on how to avoid daydreaming during tefilah?
4
votes
3answers
114 views

“Think about love for fellow Jews before praying” - source?

At the risk of being a guessing-game, I thought I'd read that before starting prayers (the beginning? The Amida?), one should take a minute to think about love for fellow Jews. Any source for this?
4
votes
3answers
235 views

Pesukim/Sayings/Thoughts for Hizuk

I have a new philosophy (of course Beli Neder): never Daven before you have Hizuk. Now, sometimes I like to sing a Niggun (Shifchi by Reb Shlomo) or say some Bakashot (specifically Agadelcha by Iben ...
4
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
31 views

Are there circumstances when one should repeat a prayer in which he had no kavana the first time?

Halichipedia writes One should have kavana (proper concentration) when praying Shemonah Esrei. If one is unable to have kavana for all of Shemonah Esrei one should make an extra effort to ...
4
votes
2answers
318 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Ashrei and Repetition of a posuk

I have heard that the only posuk in ashrei which requires repetition if one did not have kavanah when saying it is פותח את ידךָ. Where is the source for that?
3
votes
4answers
161 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
46 views

May one say a prayer while driving?

In the vein of this question How to say Tefilas HaDerech while on the road alone -- I am wondering whether it is appropriate to say a prayer or make a brocha while concurrently operating a car. ...
3
votes
2answers
96 views

What does אדון הכל mean?

The Shulchan Aruch says that when saying G-d's name אד-ני one should have in mind that G-d is אדון הכל, master of all. What does this mean? Does it mean G-d controls everything? I don't think so, ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

swaying and bowing

In the Aryeh Kaplan Reader (page 192) Rabbi Kaplan zt"l says, "Many people - during Shemonah Esrei - have the habit of swaying and bowing. However, the Shelah HaKadosh writes, such movements may ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

UvLechtecha VaDerech? With Kavanah?

How can one maintain Kavanah reciting Keriath Shema' while walking along the way? Or is the requirement waived in this case?
3
votes
0answers
70 views

Should I go to synagogue when I can't focus?

If I am too ill/stressed to be able to concentrate on worshipping G-d, should I still go to synagogue? Is there an official ruling on this? I'm worried that I might be disrespecting G-d by going.
3
votes
0answers
80 views

Pretending in kiyum hamitzvot

When a woman (or, if need be, a man) lights candles for Shabbat, she covers her eyes before making the bracha to "pretend" that the candles aren't lit yet because we generally say the bracha before ...
2
votes
2answers
160 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.
2
votes
3answers
145 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

'Kavannah' of Shem Havayeh in the first line of Kriat Shma

The requirement when saying the name 'Havayeh' to have in mind both the meaning of 'adon ha-kol' and 'hayah hoveh ve-yihyhe' takes me some time: longer than almost anybody I see in shul taking to ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

May a woman think about another man during relations? [duplicate]

I understand the talmud says that a man may not think about another woman during marital relations, does the same prohibition apply to the woman?
2
votes
0answers
44 views

Kavanah while washing hands

When washing the hands, either before bread, or in the morning, must you have the correct kavanah (intent)? For example, if i pick up the cup in the morning thinking i'll do 2-2 (like washing for ...
1
vote
5answers
261 views

List of Kavanot for ANA BE-KHOACH

What are some of the things one should have in mind (kavanah) when saying Ana B'Khoach?
1
vote
5answers
340 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
69 views

What kavana (intention) should you be having while reciting the Shema?

What kavana (intention) should you be having while reciting the Shema? It is a biblical obligation to recite the shema twice a day so it would be worthwhile to do it the right way. If you can provide ...
0
votes
2answers
48 views

beracha, kavanos and words

When making a berachah must one have certain kavanos on certain words in the berachah that he is saying in order to be יוצא it?
0
votes
2answers
117 views

meaning of words and tefillah

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:1) tells us, “When one makes a berachah he should have in mind the meaning of the words.” Is there any halachic source (i.e. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Shulchan Aruch or ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

How can we have better Kavanah in Tefilla? Specifically Tachnuneem?

How does one have better Kavanah in his Tachnuneem tefilla? Does he punch his chest harder? Maybe start bawling?