From the very inception of the chasidic movement, one of the identifying features of the chasidim was their adoption of a version of the traditional liturgy heavily influenced by the mystical teachings of the Arizal , Rabbi Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi of Tzfat This liturgy was adopted by all chasidim, even those who did not pray with the mystical meditative intentions that the liturgy was designed to reflect. For some seventy years chasidim had noted the variations in the chasidic liturgy in the margins of their traditional Ashkenaz prayer books. Of course this situation was far from ideal, and led to all kinds of liturgical and grammatical inaccuracies. The prayer book also included many laws and customs relevant to prayer, daily living and the shabbat.

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Kabbalah & Jewish Prayer

In addition to enriching the siddur [prayer book] with prayers and hymns of superb quality, the kabbalists took the ultimate step of transforming all prayer into an esoteric exercise and the whole siddur into a kabbalistic tract. The process of prayer consisted of concentration, or kavannah , on the esoteric significance of each prayer and especially on the divine names in it. This kind of kavannah, said the kabbalists, can bring unity into the divine essence and thus achieve the redemption of Israel. In order that the mystic may be ever aware of this central aim and properly apply mystic kavannah to his prayers, each prayer was preceded by preparatory introductions. From the point of view of religious inwardness and piety, this kabbalistic use of kavannah represents a considerable decline in the concept as used in the Talmud and in the Jewish philosophical and ethical literature of the Middle Ages. The kabbalists not only transformed their own prayer into a mystic ritual requiring deep concentration on various aspects of their esoteric system, but also influenced the official liturgy of the synagogue. Although they did not alter traditional prayers, they read into them many esoteric doctrines.


Kabbalistic Siddurim

Unfortunately we will not be able to ship out Siddurs till after Passover, our apologies and a Kosher and Healthy Chag. Siddur with the meditations of the Arizal in English. With introductions to all the Kabbalistic concepts. In Shaar Hakavannot one of the writings of the Arizal the Ari explains the mystical interpretations and meanings of much of the things we do. In it, the Ari explains there are spiritual worlds and concepts that we affect with our thoughts words and actions. A large part of Shaar Hakavanot is dedicated to the understanding and the interpretations and mystical meanings of the siddur.

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