Kavannah is a Jewish concept meaning intention or motivation, perhaps most associated with Hasidism. Hassidism teaches that prayer and the fulfillment of mitzvot connects one more with the Holy One if the right state of mind is cultivated before participating in said activity. While going through the motions (prayer, mitzvot, etc.) is important and still technically fulfills the mitzvot, it is not as spiritually beneficial to the individual as is doing those tasks with kavannah. Praying and fulfilling mitzvot within a certain mental space more fully connects you to the divine. Judaism is not alone regarding this religious insight. Clearly there is something to it.
Hasidic teachers often inspire and encourage their adherents to find a way to enter into the right mood before starting prayers or performing mitzvot. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. The same is often not the case within community. Continue reading “On Our Beit Midrash: Kavannah, Writing and Study by Ivy Helman”