Volume 28 Number 16
                      Produced: Sun Nov  8  8:07:00 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Janice Gelb]
Kavana - not what you'd expect
         [Sheldon Shulman]
         [Jonathan Marvin]
Kavanah during Davening
         [Michael Poppers]
Loud Prayer
         [David Riceman]
Praying for Cholim
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Response to Moshe: Nifty tricks to Increase Concentration in Prayer
         [Russell Hendel]
Sheva Brachot Benching
         [Percy Mett]


From: Janice Gelb <janice.gelb@...>
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 09:27:43 -0800
Subject: Re: Kavana

Arie Weiss <aliw@...> wrote:
> I think you can add to the list of well intentioned people with
> instances of Kavana taken to such an extreme that it disturbs others (
> Bernard F. Kozlovsky, Vol. 28 #09) those whose kri'at shema is recited
> so as to be audible to the mitpalel (halacha), but is so loud as to
> disturb other mitpalelim for several seats in every direction; to a much
> smaller degree, but even more disturbing, this happens during amidah as
> well.

Startling, but not nearly as startling as a custom my rabbi 
introduced a couple of years ago during the yomim noraim: 
blowing the shofar during the amidah at random intervals to 
increase our kavana and remind us of the holiday. Maybe 
it does for others, but it scares the heck out of me every 
time and blows my kavana to bits. Does anyone else's shul 
have this custom?

[Are talking about during the silent Amidah of Musaf during Rosh Hashana
only? If so, might it be just blowing at the end of the three brachot,
similar to what is done during the repetition. That is a well documented
custom, almost surely the oldest version of the custom to blow 100
shofer sounds. If not and truely random, that would be a new one for
me. Mod.]

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 


From: Sheldon Shulman <Sheldon.Shulman@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 11:49:32 -0500
Subject: Kavana - not what you'd expect

I've read many posts recently that suggest the level of kavana is not
what it needs to be.  There has also been discussions about length and
speed reading of tefila.  I'm not disagreeing that the problem
exists.But I would suggest that it is not that bad nor is it a new
thing.  I submit the following for your consideration.

The Magen Avraham quotes a Yerushalmi that says "I need to thank my head
for knowing to bow when I say modim".  Even then there were those who
were not thinking about what they were saying but dreaming thru the
tefila as many of us do, and yet the body knew where to bend down. Thank
you body for knowing what to do !

One of the 3 avairos quoted in Bava Basra (Last Perek) that man
transgresses every day is Iyun Tefila.  Although subject to debate as to
what exactly this means - it surely can mean not focusing on
davening. This is every day a problem that has existed since the time of
the gemara.  Don't think for a minute that this is a new problem.

The famous gemara about the students that came complaining to their
rebbe about the how long or short an individual was davening.
To the too long people he responded - is it longer than Moshe who
davened for 40 days.
To the too short people he responded - is it shorter than Moshe who
simply said "Kail Na Refa Na Lah", "please heal her" 
(when he prayed for his sister Miriam when she became a metzora).
In other words - short or long has a precedent and you should not
complain about anyone.

And for your further reading, I recommend the Ibn Ezra in Kohelet where
the posuk says you are on the ground and G-d is in the heaven -
therefore your words should be few in front of him. I think its the
first posuk of chapter 5 or 6. not sure.  He has a few choice words to
say about the saying of piyutim. Not a popular view but worth reading.

The gemara (I think it's somewhere in Shabbos) says:
	 'Yhee chelki im gomrei hallel kol Yom', May my portion (in the
world to come) be with those that finish praise every day.  Rashi says
this refers to the saying of ashrei, and the number 3 and 5 hallelukah's
that follow.  This is some of the basis for those that come late to say
at least ahrei and the 3-5 if there is time.  Consider this
carefully. Just for saying 3 short paragraghs you get olam haba.  On the
other hand it says that one who says Ashrei three times a day is surely
a ben olam haba.  Rav Hirsch in the siddur adds (with deep devotion or
concentration) to the translation. Not enough to just say it.

Personally, I hope he is wrong and that everyone who says it in any way,
shape, or form, three times a day, gets olam haba.  There is plenty to
go around.

Thanks for listening.
Shlomo Shulman


From: Jonathan Marvin <jonx@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 16:39:06 -0800
Subject: Re: Kavanah

I am wholly empathetic to the discussion on kavanah.  My 2c:

1. We have not defined kavanah, at least minimally.  Based on my paltry
research, the two types that seem to be required for all or at least
parts of davening (bideavad) are translation of the words and awareness
of being in Hashem's presence.  Since this mitsvah falls upon all, we
are talking about an awareness that a 13 year old boy could have.  So
the halakha is not asking us for anything we cannot do.

2. There is great temptation for the "serious" davener to opt out in
some form (e.g. daven slower or just be poresh min hatsibur altogether)
given the situation in many shuls.  I also struggle with this problem.
After all, Rambam all but says tefilah w/o kavanah isn't
tefilah. Perhaps another way to look at the situation is that it really
isn't impossible to have adequate (although perhaps not ideal) kavanah
even at a pretty good clip (there are limits!).  If klal yisrael have
davened this way, with the implicit consent of its leaders, we should
try to judge them favorably.  Based upon these two points, I suggest
that a two or even one hour minimum for shacharit is going too far.
Also, in its own way, long davening can also prove distracting.  There
is a limit to the amount of time most of us can maintain the appropriate
kavanah.  We need to find the middle path . .


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Subject: Kavanah during Davening

In general, re whether "less [words, but with kavanah] is [a] more
[worthwhile practice]," I would rhetorically ask what the status of a
korbon brought w/out proper kavanah is.

All the best from
                              Michael Poppers


From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 1956 20:48:11 +0000
Subject: Loud Prayer

R. Avraham ben HaRambam says that the only heter he knows for praying
out loud at all is because the entire tzibbur davens in unison
(apparently this was the practice in Egypt of his day; I have never seen
this practice) and therefore no one can become confused as a result of
the sound.  It makes me wonder if there is any excuse suitable for

David Riceman


From: Carl M. Sherer <carl@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 17:55:36 +0200
Subject: Praying for Cholim

I have a problem that is part halachic and part practical, and I'd like 
to get a sense of what you all think is appropriate before I ask a 
LOP (local Orthodox Posek for new subscribers) for guidance.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I have added a lot of
cholim to my "personal list." I define my personal list as those people
for whom I daven during Refaenu. I have "found" people in several
places. I have found some on the Cholim list at Genesis.  Others have
come from the various email lists in which my wife and I
participate. Some people I have met in hospital wards. Others are people
who have turned to us (or whose relatives have turned to us) for advice
by email or phone because of our own "situation" (see sig line below). I
do not generally make Mi Sheberachs for all of the people on my personal
list at any time.

The problem is that I am unable to keep up to date as to the status of
many of the people on my list. There are some with whom I have lost
contact altogether, but who may still be in need of tfillot. There are
others with whom I never was in contact, but relied on someone else to
keep me (and others) posted as to the status of the choleh, and the
person who asked for the tfillot has not come through. And there are
still others who may have been dropped from the Genesis choleh list
because the person who sent their name in was too busy to do it one
month, but who also may still be in need of tfillot.  (I should hasten
to point out that I am often guilty of the latter offense, and because
other people are kind enough to submit my son's name, I am less than
diligent about making sure that other names appear on that list). Even
in the best cases, I often find that I have davened for someone in
Shachris and find out later in the day that it was not necessary.

So here are my problems:

1. If I am davening for someone who no longer "needs" [special] tfillot,
and mention their name in Refaenu, is that a hefsek (interruption)?

2. What are the criteria for when someone should be mentioned in
Refaenu, asssuming one does know the present state of their health?
Should the same criteria apply when one is making a Mi Sheberach?
Consider, if you will, the following (IMHO not obvious) examples:

a. An adult who is sick in bed with the flu with a high fever (say 
b. Someone who is recuperating in the hospital after a minor hernia 
operation without any complications.
c. Someone who has no outward symptoms of illness, but is 
undergoing chemotherapy or radiation for a previously discovered 
tumor R"L (does the fact that I wrote R"L next to this one but not 
next to the first two perhaps answer the question in part?).
d. Someone who is not undergoing any treatment, but who is within 
five years of cancer, and is considered in remission.
e. Someone who is beyond five years out, but whom the doctors do 
not describe as "cured," and who has an increased risk of 
developing some sort of cancer in the future R"L.

3. What should the criteria be for deciding when it is "okay" to stop 
davening for someone? Consider the following possibilities:

a. When an MRI is "clean." 
b. When the person has passed a certain amount of time from the 
onset of their illness (may be illness-specific).
c. When the person is "cured."
d. When the person is released from the hospital.
e. When the person is able to resume some semblance of "normal" 

4. What should the criteria be for deciding to "drop" someone from my
list? If I haven't heard anything about them in six months, should I
assume that they have been "cured" or R"L the opposite?  A year? Two

5. Assume for a minute that we are talking about Mi Sheberach's and not
Refaenu. To what extent does tircha d'tzibur (being a burden on the
congregation) come into play in determining for whom to make a Mi

Just to give you all at least one halachically authoritative sentence in
this post, some of you may recall that throughout most of 1997, my wife
and I had a different signature line on our posts. It said something to
the effect of "please keep [Baruch Yosef] in mind for a long and healthy
life," and did not specifically ask people to daven for him. That
signature line was written together with a LOP after Baruch Yosef had a
clean MRI. That indicates to me that there are criteria out there for
when one should "drop" someone from their list. My question is how to
define them, and whether they can be defined not only in terms of
knowing that the person has recovered, but also based upon probabilities
(of no recurrence of an illness, for example) or upon not being able to
contact the choleh or his loved ones for an update as to his status.

I apologize for this post being so long and rambling....

-- Carl Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya.  Thank you very much.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Subject: Response to Moshe: Nifty tricks to Increase Concentration in Prayer

To respond to Moshe Nugiel's excellent questions about prayer
concentation: Here is a trick I developed during my College years to
increase time needed for Concentration during prayer: PRAY WHILE YOU
TRAVEL. Here is how it works.

I am now at the university. I have an 8 mile ride home. It takes 20
minutes. So..quite simply...I daven Maariv (till Shmoneh Esray) while I
am riding home. That gives me a FULL 20 MINUTES FOR SHMA and THE
BLESSINGS. After I park I go into my house and daven shmoneh esray.

In college I use to have a 30 minute walk home. Again I said Shma on the
road and sneaked into a phone booth, picked up the receiver and davened
shmoneh esray (a trick I learned from a mischeivous colleage in high

It may sound peculiar...but IT DOES WORK. And it is halachically Kosher.
Try it

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: Percy Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 19:13:04 +0000
Subject: Sheva Brachot Benching

Asher Goldstein <mzieashr@...> asked
>Apropos of the shaila on drinking wine at the sheva brachot/seuda shleshit,
>which we almost made last Shabbat (Noah) for a young couple but instead
>made as a kiddush/seudah sheniya, does one recite the Aramaic line in the
>zimun, "dvei...," on Shabbat?  And why not if not?

There are many customs regarding dvaay hoseyr on Shabbos.  From memory,
the poskim quote the Maharil that on Shabbos Dvaay Hoseyr is replaced
by Noyde l'shimcho.

There is certainly a widespsread custom to omit Dvay Hoseyr (= remove the
pain) on Shabbos on the grounds that on Shabbos there is no pain to remove.

And it is Hebrew, not Aramaic.

Perets Mett                             * Tel: +44 181 455 9449
5 Golders Manor Drive                   *
London                                  * Email: <P.Mett@...>
NW11 9HU England                        * WWW: http://mcs.open.ac.uk/npm2/


End of Volume 28 Issue 16