Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Beat the Rush - Advice by the Piaseczna for Davening

I saw a piece of advice that is highly worthy of repeating and being misbonein upon at length.

In Hachsharas Ha'Avreichim, Rav Klonimus Kalmish Shapira of Piaseczna, the Aish Kodesh, gave the following piece of direction. He was speaking about what to do when you find that you are davening and your thoughts are flying from one thing to another during davening and you can't get yourself to think about the davening. He said that if you try to, by force, make yourself stop thinking about anything except the words of the tefillah, then it is a major doubt whether this will be successful.

Instead, it applies a fundamental eitza that he uses in many places. He says that the pasuk in Shema says, "V'ibad'tem meheira." This means that one must destroy (v'ibadetem) the practice of rushing (meheira). One always feels that he has to keep moving and to go fast. When you're in davening, the feeling is that you have to keep going. You can't stop and you must finish at the same time or earlier than everyone else. The trick is to break that feeling. Rather than trying to force yourself to have more kavana while you keep davening... STOP! Stop davening. If it's a time when it's mutar, then sit down. If not, then lean on something and relax for a moment. Think and trace back where that rush of different thoughts arose from all the way back to the first strange thought. After this contemplation, you will have broken the flow of that confusing train of thought. Then you can go back to davening and you will be able to do so with greater concentration.

The key to this is to give up on the desire to keep going, going, going. Destroy the desire to rush (v'ibadetem meheira).

-Dixie Yid


Neil Harris said...

Amazing advice. I'll for sure try it. I am constantly floored by how practicle the Piaseczna's advice applies today. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is a moi'r'dikke eitzhoh. Another very similar and inter-related eitzoh is to say every word clearly and not just slur the words together in a blur of mish-mash.

PS: I just happened upon your blog, so far everything I've seen is amazing! Yasher Koach!

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


He is so practical. Rav Tzvi Leshem at Nishmat often writes about his teachings as well. And when I asked him why he had such a particular interest in the Piaseczna, he gave the same reason you just said; that it is such a practical application of warm Yiddishkeit to daily life.


Thank you for the eitza and the compliment!

-Dixie Yid