Kavvana
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Kavvana : Directing the Heart in Jewish Prayer

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The issue of praying with kavvana (meaning or concentration) as opposed to the 'rote' recitation of prayers has been central to the discussion of prayer throughout Jewish history. In this exhaustive study of the topic, Rabbi Seth Kadish gathers and analyzes the wealth of rabbinic teachings and academic studies on the topic of 'rote versus meaning' in Jewish prayer. By gathering into one volume all of the material on this important subject, he has enabled Jews who search for solutions to the problem of rote prayer to have a comprehensive resource for answers.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 604 pages
  • 158.5 x 233.7 x 44.7mm | 1,025.13g
  • Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
  • Northvale NJ, United States
  • English
  • 0765759527
  • 9780765759528
  • 2,227,504

Back cover copy

The issue of praying with kavvana (meaning or concentration) as opposed to the "rote" recitation of prayers has been central to the discussion of prayer throughout Jewish history. In this exhaustive study of the topic, Rabbi Seth Kadish gathers and analyzes the wealth of rabbinic teachings and academic studies on the topic of "rote versus meaning" in Jewish prayer. By gathering into one volume all of the material on this important subject, he has enabled Jews who search for solutions to the problem of rote prayer to have a comprehensive resource for answers. The concept of kavvana can be explained as directing one's heart, or having conscious intent, in performing a mitzvah (sacred deed). In relation to the mitzvah of prayer, kavvana can more specifically be understood as sincerity or concentration in one's communication with God. In Judaism, praying with renewed intensity at each of the three daily prayer services is complicated by the liturgy, which is standardized. How can Jews approach each prayer service with vitality and attention, especially when the same words are uttered time after time? The author assists the reader in recognizing the vast scope of the "rote prayer" problem by illustrating that even the greatest sages have confronted in with limited success. He also reminds the reader to understand the problem, to a certain extent, as a by-product of our innate human limitations. Most importantly, by bringing together the many possible solutions found in Jewish and scholarly sources, the reader is encouraged to search for solutions that best fit his or her individual needs. Rabbi Kadish provides a lucid explanation of the rabbinic sources that he has collected and presents them in a format aimed at both new and advanced students of Jewish texts. Scholarly writings of Jewish philosophy and history, as well as many academic works that are not written from a Jewish perspective, are analyzed with equal clarity. The siddur (prayer book) and individual prayers are explored in order to better understand the messages that are inherent within them. An extensive glossary of important terms and personalities completes the work. Kavvana: Directing the Heart in Jewish Prayer is an invaluable reference the anyone interested in exploring prayer on its most intimate level.
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About Seth Kadish

Seth Kadish grew up in Connecticut. He attended Yeshiva University, where he earned his rabbinic ordination, a masters degree in biblical studies, and a second masters degree in Jewish education. He was and remains involved in Zionist youth organizations and in Torah education programs for adults. He taught Jewish studies at a Jewish day school in America until he and his wife, Sheri, made aliya (moved to Israel) from Highland Park, New Jersey, in the summer of 1995. He is currently continuing his teaching career at a public religious high school in Israel while giving adult education classes on the side.
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