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I have been looking for a meditative exercise which would complement my worship practices.


either something to use before Worship to be put into the appropriate mindset or something which can be used outside of Shul as a personal development aid.


The problem I have is I cannot get a straight answer from anybody regarding what that might be.

I'm a Jew. (shocking, I know)

I'm not a Buddhist or a Hindu or whatever else you might lump in with "meditation" faiths. I'm worried that I might be tricked into adopting a practice which is really a remixed form of a non-Jewish practice. It's important that the practice is rooted in Judaism.

I spoke with one person who directed me to a "Rabbi" who "Studied Jewish meditation" for many years. It turned out he traveled to India and lived on a Ashram (Hindu monastery) where he learned from Hindu teachers. I simply couldn't accept that guidance.

I don't want to adopt a spiritual practice which would run counter to Judaism. I want something which is meditative but I know wouldn't be a form of idolatry being lumped into Jewish practice. That is my worry.

I've heard that there are Chasidic practices of meditation but I've never been given a clear answer as to what that might be.

I've also heard about meditation ideas related to the Kabbalah but I don't know if that's legitimate or not. (legitimate meaning hearsay from Kabbalah interpretations VS Rabbinically endorsed practices) I'm basically left digging through a haystack of BS hoping to find my needle of truth.

Is there a specific practice which someone could point me in the direction of?

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  • 3
    Hitbodedut? (Breslover...)
    – ezra
    Mar 19, 2017 at 18:53
  • @Ezra Isn't Hitbodedut just praying privately in solitude? I'm not doubting it can be meditative but it isn't necessarily a meditative practice in the form of an organized meditation, you know what I mean? Say controlled breathing or a mantra or some sort of physical movement for concentration/calmness/etc. You get what I mean?
    – user13783
    Mar 19, 2017 at 21:55

2 Answers 2

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I would recommend R' Aryeh Kaplan's book, Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide. It is halachically kosher and quite comprehensive

If you are interested in more theoretical sources, same author has


UPDATE

Over the last couple of years, I've learned tremendously powerful Torah --both theoretical and practical, -- from Rav Doniel Katz at the Elevation Project. These teachings most certainly have potential to completely transform your davening, and more generally, your emotional connection to Hashem.

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  • The last link seems to have a loose relationship with Judaism.
    – kouty
    Jul 15 at 7:39
  • Regarding Doniel Katz/Elevation Project: rationalistjudaism.com/2022/03/how-to-meet-god_15.html Jul 15 at 12:12
  • @Deuteronomy FWIW I strongly disagree with the analysis in the article you posted, - plenty of people in the comments do as well...
    – gt6989b
    Jul 17 at 5:19
  • @gt698b And I definitely disagree with posting a link to a man that is "encouraging behavior which is likely illegal and definitely dangerous." All the best brother. Jul 17 at 11:47
  • @Deuteronomy I love the term "likely illegal" :) slanders anyone you like and leaves you completely blameless (after all, he did not say it is "illegal", just did not turn out to be likely enough). "Definitely dangerous" - not according to doctors I spoke with, if done in a smart way guided by people who know what they are doing (which is exactly what the Rav says in shiur -- not encouraging blind use of this without guidance by any means).
    – gt6989b
    Jul 17 at 15:39
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The Mussar movement, especially in its earlier forms, focused heavily on what could be called meditation. They would often spend substantial periods of time in the repetition of a sentence selected from the Bible or an ethical work.

A core part of their practice is "cheshbon hanefesh", which means taking time to conduct a self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses and where one can improve.

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  • +1 The second part has little to do with meditation in the traditional interpretation of cheshbon hanefesh, but I very much agree with the first part. Could you post some source(s) describing the exact technique they used to meditate?
    – gt6989b
    Jul 18 at 11:36

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