Apr 5, 2021

Interesting Psak: faking movements of kavana during davening

An interesting question was sent to Rav Yitzchak Zibershtein, rav of Ramat Elchonon neighborhood of Bnei Braq. 

The question asked was from a person who says he wants to be honest and true and not just do things for appearances, not to do things on levels he isn't at (ie he doesnt want to do things that make him look holier than he is).

The question he asked is that he is sitting and davening from a siddur, is careful to not talk during davening, but he does not feel his davening is special enough and isn't giving his children a strong personal impression, so he asks if he should do all sorts of movements, all external, to put on a show as if he is having a lot of focused kavana, even though he really isn't and is just putting on a show for the kids to see and be impressed and see how important it is to him and therefore impress it upon themselves as well. Or maybe because he isnt really on that level and doing these motions and whatnot is not "l'shma", maybe he should not be faking it.

Rav Zilbershtein responded with a story. A maiseh. He says a Jew went to Rav Shlomke of Zhvil and told him that he enjoys reading the newspaper in the morning before davening, but he knows that when the children will get older it will make a bad impression on them. The yid said that he takes a mussar sefer so the kids will see and reads form it, but he really wants to be reading the newspaper instead and he does not want to be dishonest - he asked Reb Shlome of Zhvil if he should read from the mussar sefer "shelo l'shma" to give his kids an impression of what is important, or should he do what he feels is honest? Rav Zilbershtein related that Rav Shlomke responded that while it is "shelo l'shma" regarding the learning of mussar, it is 100% l'shma regarding the educating of his children to the right path. Additionally, Rav Zilbershtein added, performing the movements and activities that he does not yet feel are honest and appropriate for his level will little by little change him and eventually he will reach that level.
source: Hamechadesh

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1 comment:

  1. "ie he doesnt want to do things that make him look holier than he is"
    - then posing a shaila like this is especially ironic. Staged piety.


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