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How can every Jew honestly say 3 times each day, in the Shmone Esrei (some days 4 times, and on Yom Kippur 5 times) the words מעולם קיוינו לך - forever we have placed our hope in You.

How many people have truly FOREVER placed their hope in Hashem?

[Same question regarding "ki l'yeshuascha kivinu kol hayom" - Are our hopes for Hashem's Salvation the "entire day"? Don't most of us put our hopes in other means sometimes?]

[Note: I don't mean whether we are always, at every moment, thinking about our hopes in Hashem, I mean that sometimes our hopes are in other things other than Hashem, so how can we say forever we have placed our hope in You, or we have hoped for your salvation all day?]

  • Isaiah declares that a person who places his "trust" (within the verse's context, I think it's synonymous with "hope") shall be cursed. – DanF Jul 5 '18 at 21:01
  • How is it different from your "belief" in your insurance company? It sits at the back of your mind as a piece of information, as long as you don't need it, but once you do you start saying your prayers with much כוונה! – Al Berko Jul 6 '18 at 10:39
  • @Al Berko I already said that I agree with you on everything that is only a belief, but this is not a question of belief, it is a constant hope for Hashem's salvation, either he does constantly hope or he doesn't. If he puts his hope in something else then its not Forever hoping for Hashem. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jul 6 '18 at 10:47
  • @RibbisRabbiAndMore I think I understand you better now. It's a question of times - I bet you don't think of it all the time - sometimes you're up and sometimes you're down. When in trouble (health, finance, emotional) I'd say most Haredis say it wholeheartedly. – Al Berko Jul 7 '18 at 18:46
  • Now about your translation - it is not what we Israelis, native Hebrew speakers feel. For me, a more appropriate translation would be "we hoped that X you" or "we hoped you will X" or "we hope for your X" - מעולם קיווינו לך is not a proper phrase in Hebrew (you can't say "אני קיוויתי לך"), something is missing - that the place for everyone to fill in. For example "your closeness", salvation, reward, kingship, רפואה, שפע, פרנסה etc. Ask your Israeli friends. So as eveveryone has a different intention - once again, most really mean it. – Al Berko Jul 7 '18 at 18:55
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It doesn't say קויתי, I have hoped, but קוינו, we have hoped. The Jewish people has placed its hope in God for as long as it's been around.

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You probably refer to the Halocho of "חייב לכוון את פירוש המילות בתפילה", and you ask how many people really MEAN it.

For me, as a Baal Teshuva, this is probably the first thing that astonished me when I entered the Haredi world - is מצוות אנשים מלומדה - how most Haredis observe the Torah out of habit. But I have found the reason and the answer to your question:

Different people have different psychological qualities (sort of left-brainers and right-brainers) - and they treat beliefs differently: either as a feeling or as a knowledge:

  • For those who say the first (what you seemingly expect), I agree that not many people feel all that heavenly feelings like awaiting the Moshiah, enjoying Hashem closeness, loving and fearing Him etc.

  • For those (the majority) who are used to the intellectual approach - those things are pieces of knowledge they possess and never question or use.
    For example, ask me if I believe in the resurrection of the dead - I would say sure, I have a check mark on that question, but do I feel that way? I don't think so. Therefore your "astonishment".

When you ask people about their beliefs, both types will say surely they believe that way, but they will mean different things as I explained.


NB: I personally think this phenomenon is the result of the "intellectualization" revolution of the Haredi world in the last 100 years and accepting the (I call it) Litvakes intellectual approach to the Torah study as the de-facto standard in all the communities incl Hassidim and Sefardim. Practically all the Haredi Yeshivos (at least in Eretz Yisroel) after the WW2 turned to the Hespek approach over Musar. When a Bochur is applying for a Yeshivah or seeking a Shiduch he's asked how many Masechtos he learned. not how strong his Emunah is. That's the results.

  • Thank you very much for your insight and well-expressed response to my question. As I agree with you in regard to the concept of "belief", one can truthfully say "I believe... etc. or "I know" or feel that something is true even though he may not have constant thoughts about it, or may have questions tc. For this reason, I take no issue with every Jew reciting the 13 principles of faith daily. The intrinsic belief exists regardless. But saying "my hopes are in Hashem", this is not a belief. It is either true or not true. If my hopes lie elsewhere then it would seem not to be true. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jul 6 '18 at 3:44

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