20 February 2013

Intending What You Mean To Say and Not Just Direction: כוונה (Kavanah) and כוונת הלב (Kavanat haLev)

People all too often confuse kavanah with kavanat halev
All too often, I hear people saying it is good to have כוונה (kavanah).  What they mean to say is it is good to have intention.  They get this sense from rabbinic literature.  However, when the rabbis of the Talmud speak about כוונה, they mean direction.  
If one wants to say intention, one would say כוונת הלב (kavvanat halev), which means mental direction.  An easier way of saying that is intention.  
Thus, when people say kavanah is a good thing, they are actually saying having direction is good, which is true, but not what one is trying to impart.  They should really be saying one should have kavanat halev.

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