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 Mishnah Berurah) that says when one davens he should know the meaning of the words?

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    Mishna B'rura O.C. 60:11 says that one must know the meaning of the words of the first pasuk in Sh'ma. This specificity is based on the opinion of R. Me'ir in a 3-way dispute over how much of the first paragraph requires such intent. Elsewhere he says that the same applies to the whole first paragraph in the amida and might imply that it is also true of p'suke d'zimra.
    – WAF
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 23:32
  • Also see the Mishna B'rura in 60:7, and Rashba on B'rachos 13a. They corroborate my previous comment.
    – WAF
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 17:19
  • Isn't davening made up of brakhot?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 18:55
  • @DoubleAA, you know well that "davening" a/k/a "t'fila" (in the usual meaning of that word) is not entirely b'rachos (even if what Chazal called "t'fila" is).
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 5:16
  • @msh210 So the question is only about those parts which aren't Brachot? Doesn't that invalidate AY's answer?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


Learn kuntres hateffilah from the Rebbe Rashab Z"L. It explains it in detail and it is not a very big maamar. Let me know if this helps.

  • Which parts of davening are essential to have kavannah by? (i.e. know the meaning of the words) Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 5:03
  • Alter Rebbe writes in Tanya that your obliged to have kavana during the posuk shema yistoel and the first beracha in the amidah (magein avrohom) Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 3:19

There is a source which says that when one davens he need not know the meaning of the words.

The O Ch Mishna Berura 101 [14] on the law about praying in any language says

“But in Hebrew, one performs one's obligation even if he does not understand the language”.

O Ch 101 speaks about the Amidah. The Shaar Hatziyun there refers to O Ch 62 which refers to the Shema.

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