Shabbat Prayers: Achieving Kavanah
A Jew was seen davening with exuberant joy and enormous ecstasy in the back of the synagogue. No one knew who he was and people assumed that he must be a visiting tzaddik who understood the depth of meaning and mystical association of each word in the Siddur.
After davening, the Rabbi welcomed him as befits a personage of distinction. “No, Rabbi,” he said, “I am but an ignorant Taylor who can hardly pronounce the words of the prayers correctly.” “But,” the Rabbi asked, “how do you experience such enormous Kavanah and Simcha shel mitzvah?
The Taylor replied: “I feel overwhelming happiness in the realization that my station in life is so low that no one bothers or has time to listen to me. I said “good morning” to Reb Shmuel, the banker, in the street this morning, and he didn’t even turn to acknowledge my existence. I stopped Reb David, the judge, to tell him something. He told me to make an appointment with his secretary. Even here in synagogue, the Shamesh doesn’t know my Hebrew name, so he doesn’t ever give me an aliyah. No one bothers to take note of me.
“But when I wrap my Tallit around me and I recite the words of the Siddur, addressing the King of Kings, I have the assurance that He is One Who hears our prayers, that He is listening to me. The banker, the judge and the Shamesh wouldn’t bother with me, but the King and of the world, the Sovereign and Creator of the universe hears my prayers. Should I not feel most privileged and filled with ecstatic joy? This is the source of my exuberance.”