[Avodah] ADHD and Havinenu

David Wacholder dwacholder at gmail.com
Wed Mar 13 22:24:25 PDT 2013

I can certainly plead guilty to praying in ;many strange places with little
detectable  Kavana. I wonder if the abbreviated shortened siddur - as it is
I skipped chunks - would have solved the problem.

[Old joke] Why did our fathers put the Tephillin Shel Rosh onto their head,
despite lacking mirrors,to find the central axis of the top of their head,
whereas even Bar Mitzva boys today are given mirrors to find it?
Answer: People's heads  became smaller. As a result, they can no longer
locate the center of their heads without a GPS device.

Our prayers were written with great inspiration, and have not  lost the
potential for profound uplift. Harnessing that power is very tricky.   I am
confident that every school principal has wrestled with this question.

There is an illusion that because the Shulchan Aruch devotes only say 1% of
its space to the meaning of prayer,  therefore what little information is
mentioned, must be the entire amount Recommended Daily Allowance of depth
of understanding the text.

SIDDUR OTZAR HATEFILLOT is a good place to start. It needs some reworking
to catch up to our standards as it is almost a century old.  There were no
I-Phones in Ozharov, my father's "heimishe" Shtedtl, but there were
functioning wells.

Replying directly, Rav Abbadi printed in his Tshuvot - name not coming to
me - a shortened Birkat Hamazon - so those who make Mezonot for lack of
time can say just the very minimum.  As far as I have heard there was
little enthusiasm for it. Perhaps we fear the "slippery slope" and any
buffet or change of routine may lead to abandonment of all.

Taking the Frankel Rambam, or even Rav Saadya Gaon's siddur, and praying
from it, is that even more radical? Our Al Hamichya is competitive in
length with their entire Birkat Hamazon.

;What about a Teimani Baladi Tichlal? Or long Kiddush at Leil Haseder with
Prisumei Nissa at length in the Bracha - which elicited a vehement
name-calling from a Gaon 1200 years ago? I have a Hagada which contains it.

Praying from the wrong Siddur worked for me, at times, short term. Perhaps
it even had some effect long term.

The classic print of Machazor Vitri (Halacha and Nusach, centered around
Rashi's students. Hebrewbooks.org makes it  freely available. Pages 148-154
- at the havdala end of the Shabbos prayers - makes almost a dissection of
every word of the Nishmas Kol Chai prayer. I am convinced that the main
narrator, unnamed except "Rebbe" - is Rashi himself.  The "scribe" is the
Rabeinu Eliezer Ben Nathan, the RAAVAN.
I took a combined amalgamated text of Nishmas, and added the pieces I
copied form the Machzor Vitri.
Seeing Rashi 1100 years ago criticize mindless reading of the words of the
Siddur  is just amazing.

Nishmas with color coding is a far more inspiring prayer.

Integration of  Tana"ch with Tefilah, and allowing the students to interact
with it, may be a tremendous potential uplift in our educational systems.


David Wacholder

Email: dwacholder at gmail.com
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