[Avodah] A question for the chevre

Moshe Zeldman mzeldman at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 07:53:48 PST 2013

I appreciate all the feedback, especially Chana's point about gemara that
deem certain mitzvos as 'keneged kulam'. Having given it some more
thought, I think that what the Rav was getting at was a jab at a certain
hippy approach to Torah-- that the ikar is what you feel, not the
technicalities of what you do.
I think the Nefesh haChaim in the perakim is dealing with a not dissimilar
issue. He attacks the chasidim of his day who give too much weight to
kavana in mitzvos, and not enough weight to the halachic parameters. He
mocks the Jew who, by taking so much time to build up a good kavana in
Kriyas Shema, misses zman kriyas shema. The Nefesh haChaim's proof is the
halacha that if a person says the words of shemoneh esrei without kavana
(after the first bracha), b'dieved they're yotzei. But if they have kavana
but don't actually enunciate the words at all, they're not yotzei. My kasha
on the Nefesh haChaim is that by the mitzva of Kriyas Shema, I believe it's
the opposite. If a person can't say the words (he physically can't talk, or
he's in a dirty place), he's bedieved yotzai by thinking the words. On the
other hand, if he says the words with no kavana whatsoever, he's NOT yotzei.
Am I missing something? Is this a good counterpoint for the "feeling vs
doing" question?
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