Is Having Kavana in Prayer One of the Ten Commandments?


The first time that the Ten Commandments appear in the Torah is in Parshat Yitro.


The Third Commandment is found in Shmot 20:7: “Do not take the Name of Hashem, your God in vain. For God will not acquit the one who takes His Name in vain.”


The Talmud in Brachot 33b states: He who pronounces an unnecessary benediction  violates the prohibition of “Do not take the Name of Hashem, your God in vain.”


Rabbi Kasher in the Torah Shlemah explains this commandment: “Whoever pronounces an unnecessary benediction or says his prayers without devotion or at the wrong time takes the name of Heaven in vain. Regarding him the text states: He will not acquit him.”


What Rabbi Kasher is saying is that if someone prays without kavana, without being focused, without paying attention to what he is saying, without understanding the meaning of the words, without being aware that he is standing before God- then he is actually taking God’s name in vain.


How many people would take prayer more seriously if they thought about this concept?


There are many observant Jews who would not dare to utter God’s name outside of the recitation of prayers and blessings yet while praying their minds may wander, they may involve themselves in conversations with people in the room (instead of with God) during the course of the davening or they may be so tuned out that they may not even realize which prayers they have already recited.  


Every time that God’s name is uttered it should be for a purpose.


When we look at the third commandment from this perspective, it seems even harder to observe than the normative explanation of this commandment, not swearing falsely using God’s name. Prayer is said three times a day and blessings are said throughout the day so not taking God’s name in vain has to be something that we are aware of every day, all day long.


As we read the Ten Commandments this week, let’s take it upon ourselves to have more kavana each and every time that we recite God’s name in a prayer or a blessing.

Send Mishloach Manot/ Matanot L'Evyonim

(Gifts for Purim and Gifts for the Poor)

to Jerusalem ’s Impoverished Elderly

Torat Reva Yerushalayim will once again be preparing Mishloach Manot/Matanot L’Evyonim packages which will be hand delivered by the Midreshet Devora students to the neglected elderly of Jerusalem in two nursing homes in Talpiot as well as to the homebound elderly in East Talpiot on Shushan Purim (the day that Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem ). The packages will include healthy snacks, gifts and Purim treats.

The packages that Torat Reva Yerushalayim delivered over the last few years to Jerusalem's elderly were the ONLY gift packages that these individuals received!

According to the Rambam in his Mishneh Torah: “gifts for the poor deserve more attention than the seudah (festive meal) and mishloach manot (gifts for friends) because there is no greater, richer happiness than bringing joy to the hearts of needy people, orphans, widows and proselytes.”

A donation of $18 covers one package, $180 covers packages for an entire floor of a nursing home.

Please click on the following link to donate on line
Or mail a check payable to Torat Reva Yerushalayim to:
In the US
Torat Reva Yerushalayim, 75 Berkeley Avenue, Yonkers NY 10705
In Israel
Torat Reva Yerushalayim, 12 Israel Eldad #19, Jerusalem 93399