Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday Morning Kavvanah, 1/5/2011 - A little praise goes a long way; a lot puts you in the mood

There are five modes of Jewish prayer:

1. Shevah - praise

2. Baqashah - request

3. Hodayah - thanks

4. Selihah - seeking forgiveness

5. Tahanun - supplication

The vast majority of any given service is the mode of shevah / praise. In fact, in this morning's service, virtually everything from page 6 up to page 37 in our siddur (Sim Shalom for Weekdays) was shevah .

And this begs the question: why so much praise? Wouldn't a little be enough? After all, when we praise others, a little goes a long way, and too much sounds dishonest. And furthermore, God surely does not need human praise, right?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the meditative quality of tefillah, Jewish prayer. The praise, although descriptive of God, is not for God's ears - it is for ours. And what better way to "get in the mood" for tefillah than to meditate on the praiseworthy qualities of God?

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