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Prayer Tools: Achieving Kavanah

A Jew was seen praying 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 – prayer book.

After prayers, the Rabbi welcomed him as befits a personage of distinction. “No, Rabbi,” he said, “I am but an ignorant tailor who can hardly pronounce the words correctly.” “But,” the Rabbi asked, “How do you experience such enormous kavana and joy of the Mitzvah?” He 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 turn to acknowledge my existence. I stopped Reb Dovid, the judge, to tell him something. He told me to make an appointment with his secretary. Even here in the synagogue, the Shamash doesn’t know my Hebrew name so he doesn’t call me up to the Torah. No one bothers to notice me.

“But when I wrapped the Tallit around me and I recite the words of the blessing, addressing the King of Kings, I have the assurance that He is the One Who Listens to Prayer, that He is listening to me. Reb Shmuel, Reb Dovid, and the Shamash couldn’t bother with me but the King of the World, the Creator of the Universe hears my prayers – should I not feel most privileged and filled with ecstasy? This is the source of my exuberance.”

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