In addition, meditation promotes concentration and the ability to focus by dispelling the distorting veil of man’s internal and external prejudices. The Hebrew word most commonly used to connote meditation is Hitbodedut – translated as isolation, being alone. About IyyunIYYUN creates opportunities for people of all backgrounds to deeply examine and understand the intellectual, emotional and physical within themselves, in the light of Jewish spiritual teachings and the wisdom of the Torah. Beyond relaxation and quieting the mind, Kabbalistic meditation is a means to become centered, to wean ourselves from identifying with externals and to redirect our focus toward the Center of all reality, the Creator.
Although many think that meditation does not exist in Judaism, they will be surprised to find out that it does exist.
Although there are Jewish devotees of Eastern meditation who have turned back to their Jewish roots because they can not find any outlet for meditation in their observance in Jewish ritual, none the less, meditation does exist in Judaism as shall be shown. The word for meditation in the Hebrew is "hitbonanut" (or hisbonanos as the Chassidim pronounce it).
The problem is that although hitbonanut plays a very important role in Judaism, it has been marginalized by the halachically inspired practices of those who follow the Lithuanian style of Judaic life. The form of meditation that was advocated by the early Chassidim (and captured so well in chapter 42 of the remarkable book, Tanya, by the first rebbe of Chabad) differs from the Eastern method of meditation not only in form but in substance. The purpose of Jewish Meditation is not just to enhance the person's relationship with G-d but rather to increase his awareness of G-d in all of his actions.
Taking time before entering into prayer, a person should focus on the events in his own life in which G-d has given him help.
Those persons who posses the abilities to learn the holy spiritual books should study these books prior to prayer and then reflect on the concepts brought down in these holy books before they begin to pray. As an example, let us understand that a man was chosen to go to the railway station to meet his favorite teacher, a man who inspired him and was very close to him.
Imagine the excitement of the man being given the honor to escort his famed teacher to his hotel from the train station.
When the man arrived at the train station he met his master with joy and happiness and easily loaded the suitcases into the trunk of the cab and he and his favorite teacher sat in the back seat of the cab talking excitedly to the hotel where the young man again took the suitcases effortlessly up to his teacher's room. But let us picture this scenario instead: the young man arrives at the train station and instead of meeting his beloved teacher, he is told by the porter that the elderly teacher already has taken a cab to the hotel but that his heavy baggage is still waiting for the younger man to collect and take to the hotel.
Imagine how the young man would be saddened to have missed the opportunity to converse with his master. Jewish meditation has always been a part of Judaism but it differs vastly from the Eastern meditation. Jewish meditation is especially important today as we Jews become more absorbed into the material aspects of the world. Our Congregants comprise an eclectic, diverse and welcoming community, united by our common goals, extraordinary vision and unwavering faith. To meditate is to discover and align our center of being with the actions that express who we are in life.


Spiritually, meditation is used as a device to attain spiritual liberation, and to loosen our intrinsic bond with that which is physical.
It was not, as he explained to his master, that he did not know that which he was required to do, rather his request was that his master should direct him in the one most inspiring and effective path to God.
By doing so we forge a connection between the self and the Divine, cleansing any negative influence that may have been a barrier. Not only does it exist, but it played an important role in the time of the early followers (Chasidim) of the saintly Baal Shem Tov. What causes the difficulty for those who have practiced Eastern meditation is that hitbonanut does not resemble the meditation form that they have become accustomed to in their encounter with the Eastern religions but because it is different does not mean it is not meditation. They view the adherence to Jewish Law in exactingness as being the only acceptable form of devotion. Without going into the details of Eastern meditative practices, let us get involved in the purpose, place and substance of Jewish Meditation. Most notably is to enhance his prayer sessions to bring the awareness that he is standing indeed before the Almighty G-d. To fathom the meditation necessary to contemplate on the second aspect, G-d as He is to Himself, requires much training and study, since the essence of G-d as He is to Himself requires a special knowledge into the quintessential essence of G-d which is generally beyond the average person.
This aspect of hitbonanut or meditation requires the person to contemplate of G-d as He has come into the individual person's life.
This contemplation or meditation with bring out the internal love of G-d from the hidden recesses of his heart into the open and cause the person to pray (or perform mitzvoth or live his life) with a feeling of closeness to G-d. These concepts open one's mind and heart both in understanding of G-d and in feeling His goodness and closeness during their prayers and daily activities. The teacher was now an old man and has difficulty managing his baggage, for this purpose this man was chosen to help him. Unless we use these meditative skills to bring our consciousness into the awareness of G-d, our prayer is going to drag and be insipid. Because of this difference many returnees from Eastern religions can not find their place in Judaism. We need the real Jewish mediation and contemplation to afford our souls to reach the heights that they are designed to reach.
Each session will include a brief period of instruction and introduction to a specific type of meditation practice, an opportunity to try that practice, some extended time for silent meditation practice, and some closing conversation for reflections on our practice. Most of us operate inefficiently and ineffectively by being out of integrity, and not orchestrating harmoniously our physical, mental, and spiritual energies. There are derivative salubrious effects from meditation including the treatment of migraines, lowering blood pressure, decreasing stress on the heart, while strengthening the immune system. It is both a medium to encounter the Divine and experience transcendence, while serving as a springboard, propelling future spiritual growth. Given the way we operate, we are filled with the noise of the world to the point that we derive our sense of being alive from it.


They range from simple meditations such as replacing mundane thoughts with loftier reflection, to the more sophisticated meditations whence one reaches a higher state of awareness and consciousness. While this adherence to Jewish Law is undoubtedly important, still it does not supply the inner fire of devotion in prayer. Although this awareness during prayer is a cardinal aspect, the awareness of G-d is also increased through out the Jew's daily activity irrespective whether he is fulfilling a divine commandment (mitzvah) or living through the mundane aspects of life such as making a living and reacting to events as they develop around him. He would feel the weight of the suitcases as a heavy burden and would be saddened in his ride to bring them to the hotel. Jewish meditation, hitbonanut, brings the hidden aspect of G-d's presence out from the hidden recesses of the heart and mind to the revealed and allows us to serve Him and connect with Him with joy and happiness. Some actually import the Eastern meditation into Judaism because without it, they feel Judaism is 'dry'.
We will also share a little bit of text study out of the Jewish mystical, Hasidic, and meditative traditions.
Through meditation, life can be lived more authentically by discovering our potential and by relating to the external from the internal. In its most elevated form it is used as a vehicle through which one ascends into higher realms and dimensions. The scope of Jewish meditation encompasses intellectual meditation to heart meditation, body movement meditation to transcendental meditation, and many more.
Conforming to Jewish Law is only the external manifestation of prayer but meditation provides the internal aspect which is critical for proper prayer, the connection to the Infinite. Open to everyone, those already involved with some kind of meditation practice, those who are curious about what meditation offers and where to start, and anyone in-between.
We begin to view ourselves as an integral part of something infinitely greater than what we had perceived ourselves to be.
Ostensibly, if one’s ground of being is outer directed then it is logical to infer that the only interaction with the outer world is the external carapace that one has put in place, minimizing the role of the Self. Jewish meditation is designed to focus on the center of all reality, the Creator, and to forge a connection between the self and God.
One may find God through prayer, another through study, one may feel closest to God through self-denial, while yet another finds his connection through the pleasures in life. Each person will search within their hearts to find what draws them closest to their source, and then follow that unique path with all the strength of their being.



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