“Meditation, Judaism, and Self-Mastery”
Let’s reclaim our spiritual heritage!
Rabbi Kaplan – “Jewish Meditation” – p 104
Reasons for standing in prayer:
When one stands, he summons his complete being, from head to toe, to prayer. In addition, his standing expresses his awe and fear toward the King of the world. Therefore, one must not lean against anything while reciting the Amidah, for anyone who is supported by something even slightly is not considered to be in a state of fear. In extenuating circumstances, for instance, when someone is weak and must lean against something, he should try to lean only slightly, such that if the support should be taken from him, he would remain standing on his own. In that way, although he is not standing in fear, he is at least considered to be praying in a standing position (Shulchan Aruch 94:8; Mishnah Berurah 22).
One must put his legs together so that they look like one. The reason for this is that the separation of one’s legs exposes the material side of a person and represents the pursuit of worldly matters. Thus, we keep our feet together in prayer just like the Kohanim who, in their ascent to the altar, would walk heel to toe to avoid spreading their legs. Furthermore, putting one’s legs together symbolizes the annulling of the powers in one’s legs, demonstrating that we have but one desire, to stand before Him in prayer. Chazal learn this from the angels, of which it is said (Ezekiel 1:7), “Their legs are a straight leg,” meaning, their legs were placed together so that they appeared to be one leg (Berachot 10b; Yerushalmi, chapter 1, halachah 1; and see Maharal Netiv Ha’Avodah 6).
Why imitate the angels?
Rabbi Kaplan – “Sefer Yetzirah” p 61
One mission / one thought. Kavanah?
Can standing be tied to meditation?
The name “Amidah,” which literally is the Hebrew gerund of “standing,” comes from the fact that the worshipper recites the prayer while standing with feet firmly together. This is done to imitate the angels, whom Ezekiel perceived as having “one straight leg.” As worshippers address the Divine Presence, they must remove all material thoughts from their minds, just as angels are purely spiritual beings. In a similar vein, the Tiferet Yisrael explains in his commentary, Boaz, that the Amidah is so-called because it helps a person focus his or her thoughts. By nature, a person’s brain is active and wandering. The Amidah brings everything into focus.
What is the Tiferet Yisrael?
Yisrael Lifschitz (Hebrew: ישראל ליפשיץ; 1782–1860) was a leading 19th-century Ashkenazi rabbi, first in Dessau and then in the Jewish Community of Danzig. He was the author of the commentary “Tiferes Yisrael” on the Mishnah.
Lipshitz was the author of Tiferes Yisrael, a well-known commentary on the Mishnah. The edition of the Mishnah containing this commentary is often referred to as “Mishnayos Yachin uBoaz”. The commentary is divided into two parts, one more general and one more analytical, titled “Yachin” and “Boaz” respectively (after two large pillars in Solomon’s Temple, the first Temple in Jerusalem).
—— How exactly can standing help you meditate?
From a Buddhist Master of Korea:
As you practice standing meditation, you develop a greater kinesthetic awareness of your body — a clear sense of your orientation in space and among people. You take a step away from the habit of always passively staring at whatever’s going on in your head and you begin to notice the sensations of living more. Colors, sounds, textures, and odors assume greater depth and immediacy. Physical stimuli and emotions feel somehow fresher, more real — even as you notice how fleeting and evanescent the so-called “real world” is. And this is just the beginning. Each person takes her own path through meditation and gains her own unique insights which nonetheless can be shared with the world and added to our treasury of knowledge.
Mastering the standing posture is the first step in being able to incorporate meditation into our daily lives.
e. Jerusalem. 104
Rabbi Kaplan – “Jewish meditation” – p 104
Rabbi Kaplan – “Jerusalem – Eye of the Universe,” pp 44 -47
1) Prayer directed towards Jerusalem. p 44
2) The Temple. p 45
3) Prayer and prophecy. p 45
What are the Cherubim?
From My Jewish Learning:
In the Bible God sets the cherubim at the entrance of the Garden of Eden after the expulsion of Adam and Eve, to guard the way to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:24). Two cherubim overlaid with gold with outstretched wings were placed facing one another on the cover of the Ark in the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:18-20) and figures of cherubim were embroidered on the veil and the curtains of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:1, 31). In Solomon’s Temple the two gilded cherubim were not attached to the Ark, as in the Tabernacle, but were placed as figures each 10 cubits high in front of the Ark (I Kings 6:27-8).
How were / are Cherubs used in meditative prayer?
Rabbi Kaplan “Meditation and the Bible” – The Cherubs, pp 57 – 61
Cherubs on the ark cover. pp 57 – 58
Meditation on the Cherubs. p 58
Cherubs in the Garden of Eden / Ezekiel’s Vision. p 59
Cherubs in Samuel’s Vision. pp 59, 61