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13

I would suggest sitting towards the front, or somewhere near the amud. Most of the talking usually takes place towards the rear of the synagogue.


13

My rabbi told me a very nice suggestion which seems to help me every time I practice it and it's very simple: Follow along with your finger. If you have your finger below every word that you say, it will make you have to look at the page that you're reading from causing you to slow down and think about the words that you are saying. Even if you don't ...


10

Sources that support Shukeling: Mishna Berura (95:7), Magen Giborim, Zohar (Pinhas), Baal HaTurim, Kuzari, Rama (Orach Chaim 48), Keneset HaGedola (Siman 95), Menorat HaMaor (3:3:12), Sefer Hasidim (Siman 57), Peri Hadash (Siman 95). Sources that don't support/against Shukeling: Teshuvot HaRama' (Siman 113), Hida, Rabbi Yisrael Seruk, Derech Haim (115b), ...


10

According to this collection of notes on the siddur arranged by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi -- http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=30450&st=&pgnum=122 -- the source is Pri Eitz Hayyim, Sha'ar Olam Ha-Assiyah, end of perek alef, which was then mentioned by the Magen Avraham, beginning of siman mem vav. Pri Eitz Hayyim is a book by Rabbi ...


9

I was a major sufferer of the problem you describe, and to be honest, I have not completely cured myself of this; however, there are a few things that I have done recently that have made a huge difference in my level of focus during davening. I think it is important to remember, though, that there is no quick fix to this challenge. As you mentioned in a ...


9

Learn the meaning behind the vidui before saying it. Buy a sefer that translates them or an interlinear siddur, and daven from that. Write your own commentary to them whilst learning the meanings.


9

http://www.chabadyavne.com/contents.asp?fid=82&av=2327 The Piskei Teshuvos 61:5 mentions from the Arizal that the hand has to actually cover the eyes. However the Kloizenberger Rebbe Zatzal held that you may just cover the glasses with your hand. In Chabad they lift the glasses and place the hand on the eyes.


9

The goal is concentration and that takes awareness and work. Some people naturally read slower but for many, it isn't a matter of reading as it is of focusing. The prayer isn't a race but a chance to connect with the divine -- it shouldn't be the goal to get through it as quick as possible -- that should be the opposite of the desired experience. It isn't ...


9

The source is Rabbeinu Yona Brachos 32a, in the name of the Geoinim. This is brought in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 51:7 The Mishna Brurah there (:16) says it means to say from that posuk until the end of the chapter. Shulchan Aruch HaRav (51:8) implies that saying the single verse is enough. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (14:2) implies that the single verse is ...


8

Two things have proven effective for me over the years in this regard: Davening near/behind people who are more into it than me. This is inspirational not for competitive reasons but because it provides constant reminders that if I fall behind in my concentration I am missing out - for, as the other individual demonstrates, there is something to be missed. ...


8

A few ideas that help me: Be the shaliach tzibbur. Your mind requires more focus and this spills over into kavana. Although many say it is praiseworthy to stand during chazaras hashatz and krias hatorah, I find that sitting helps me follow along better. Do not try to do this if you took my previous advice of being the shaliach tzibbur! I have a gemara ...


7

In the Men's side as close to the Rabbi as possible.


7

Yalkut Yosef 61:4 ואין צריך להסיר המשקפיים בעת שנותן ידיו על עיניו בקריאת שמע.‏ He holds you don't have to remove the glasses.


7

It is not permitted to daven in front of any picture or mirror, much less a picture of Avodah Zarah. Article on this. A quote from this article: Bowing to any picture can raise the specter of avoda zara. Many poskim forbid images of animals in a shul (see above) particularly on the wall toward which people bow. It is also forbidden to daven facing a ...


6

I find that singing parts help.


6

Without checking sources: Psukei DeZimra (the psalms and passages from Baruch SheAmar to Yishtabach, before Shema) should be recited slowly, as though one were counting money. Try to pronounce each word separately (in a low whisper), with a pause after each verse. Don't stretch the words out, but savor them (like good wine). The same applies to Shema, and to ...


6

We learn from Chana not to raise our voices for tefillah. (One reason given is that we imply that Hashem canot hear us otherwise.) See, for example, Aruch haShulchan 101:2. Shema is not tefillah, it is a declaration.


6

In genenral, Sha'ar Hakavanos says that the set of blowings before sh'mone esre is an appropriate time to verbally admit one's sins and that the Ariza"l would do so while crying. This fits with the many mentions it makes of the relationship between sleep, awakening, and the shofar. Our lack of cognizance of our own actions and their ramifications is like ...


6

Mishnah Berurah (98:1) cites Eliyah Rabbah, who in turn cites Kitzur Shaloh, that "a segulah for removing extraneous thoughts is, before praying, to pass one's right hand three times across his forehead, and each time, say the verse לב טהור ברא לי אלקים ורוח נכון חדש בקרבי (Ps. 51:12)." However, kavanah involves more than just removing distracting thoughts; ...


6

Personally speaking I find several things helpful in inspiring oneself before tefilla: Poetry often works, if one concentrates on its simultaneous meaning and eloquence. My favorites are Adon Olam by Ibn Gabirol (found at the beginning of almost any siddur), and Odeh La'El by R' Shemayahu (found in some siddurim in the "Seudah Shlishit" section). To each ...


6

The meaning (translation, if you think in a language other than Hebrew) of the words.


6

http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/142/Q1/ Each person should do whatever would make him concentrate better. Both Shuckling and standing still, are legitimate ways of prayer.


6

According to My Rav Say Elokai Neshama, Bircat HaTorah, and Bircat HaShachar Say Baruch She'Amar, Ashrei, and Yishtabach If you can put on tallit and tefillin, and say just the above passages, in the time that it takes the rest of the minyan to say all of Psukei D'Zimra, then it's better to do so, in order to pray with a minyan. This is assuming that ...


5

I read the following piece of advice in a pamphlet somewhere, and I tried it and it worked for me. Concentrate on the meaning of Hashem's name whenever it comes up. You can pick whichever meaning you want for it to work, although Halacha has an opinion about which one is the main one. There are two reasons why I think it works. One is that Hashem's name ...


5

I recently tried enunciating the letter ע more while davening. This makes you go slower, at least until you get so used to it. Then, once you're going slower and paying more attention to the words, you end up having better kavanah.


5

Take a minute to clear your mind and try to fee the presence of Hashem all around you. Daven to Hashem to help you daven with Kavanah Every time you catch your mind straying, ask for Hashem's help again Keep reminding yourself that Hashem and all the Heavenly hosts are counting on you. Keep your fingers on the place. Learn the meaning of what you are saying ...


5

Following the exact question "How do you improve your concentration when davening?" I would suggest that the main effort at improvement of kavanah should be done before davening. Learning be'ur t'fillah and eventually learning seforim that teach the inner dimensions of the words we use in t'fillah is important. Spending time before davening to gather ...


5

I suggest trying not to think of anything other than the the actual meanings of the words - sometimes thinking about other things distracts you and makes you forget


5

I rarely lacked concentration when reading something in English. When I have, it has easily come back by reading the same passage over again. The only thing I can think of, is that you actually understand and make sure you translate each word you say into your mind. When I have done that during davening, I have also never lacked conentration. The hard part ...



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