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Rebbetzin’s Perspective IV: Questions And Answers Class 3

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Question:

For many years davening was a big challenge for me.  Not a challenge of faith; just of application, discipline, and appreciation.  Then due to some difficulties I was facing, I finally got to the point where for perhaps 6 or 7 years, I was saying many chapters of Tehillim, praying shacharit, mincha and maariv and saying perek shira among other "extras". Then last year I kind of burned out. Now I have been trying to building up again. Is it better to daven more without kavana (intention) or less with more kavana?  I love to learn.  Is it wrong to choose to read a sefer or listen to a Torah lecture instead of trying to go back to all the tefillot I used to say?

Answer:

It’s very normal to burn out. I know someone who went to the great kabbalist, Rav Gamliel and asked how he could regain his kavana in davening. Rav Gamliel recommended that he do something different. He suggested that he buy a new siddur and the person said it helped. It’s perfectly normal for you to say, “I’ve had enough with perek shira and Tehilim et al.” Now you have to rebuild in a different way. The halacha is that less with kavana is better than more without kavana. But less doesn’t always mean with kavana. You could also do less without kavana. Tehilim is very powerful. But I would suggest that at this point it would be better for you to read a sefer or listen to a Torah lecture to replenish yourself so that you’ll be more motivated to pick up Tehilim bit by bit when you are ready.

What I do encourage you to do no matter what is to pray shachrit and mincha every day. This is not considered doing more or touching a greater source of power. It’s halacha, something you have to do. In addition, you can learn to talk to Hashem in your own words. This is also considered tefilah and may actually give you a different perspective and a way to connect in a more intimate way.

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