Kavanah. If you’re Jewish, you’ve probably heard the word thrown around by your Rabbi, or perhaps by a friend. Perhaps you use it yourself on a regular basis. For me, it’s a biggie. Loosely translated as “intention,” and related to the word kivun meaning “direction,” living life with kavanah is an ideal I strive towards on a daily basis. I find that being mindful about why I act the way I act makes my life significantly more meaningful.
So I was surprised when in a few conversations, some people spoke to a vicious “kavanah vs. keva debate” that they believe is raging across the world of Jewish prayer. Keva relates to the Hebrew word “Kavua” which means “fixed,” “stable” or “permanent,” and these friends of mine seemed to think that making their prayer keva was tantamount to removing any and all emotion from the process. Indeed, Rabbi Shimon said almost two thousand [Read more…]