It’s a new year, so it’s time for a new weekly series. This year we will be exploring kavvanot.
It’s hard to translate the word kavvanah. It means something like ‘orientation’ or ‘intention.’ It’s easiest to think of it as the part of ourselves that we bring to a particular moment - a moment of personal transition or significance, a moment of prayer, a moment of silence.
A kavvanah needn’t be a prayer, or even mention God in any form. It can simply be us taking time to arrange ourselves to meet what is coming towards us, a kind of drawing up of our inner resources so that we are just a little more conscious, a little more aware as we step into our next experience.
Kavvanot can be used for moments and actions of any size and significance. For example, here is one in the spirit of this week’s Torah portion, for beginning a new project:
As I stand on the threshold
as the road unfurls before me
let me pause.
Let me notice
the wishes I carry in my heart
the hopes I hold in my soul.
May I make this journey
in health and safety
knowing that even if the way is not clear
there will be a destination.
May this be so.
What is your own kavvanah for the week that is coming?