Kavana During Brachot

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  1. When reciting brachot a person must think about the meaning of the words one is reciting.[1] A blessing should not be thrown from one's mouth and one should make blessings peacefully and calmly. One should think about Hashem's kindness in having provided us with the food or Mitzva which we are about to perform. One who recites blessings out of mere habit arouses Hashem's anger against His people.[2]
  2. Additionally, when reciting Hashem's four letter name "A-donai," one should think about the fact that Hashem is master over the entire world and that Hashem exists throughout time.[3] These two intentions are easy to think about because they correspond to the way Hashem's name is pronounced ("Adon" means "Master" the yud suffix implies "my," thus the meaning of this word's pronunciation is "My Master") and the way Hashem's name is written (with the letters of the words "haya"--"He was," "hove"--"He is," and "yihiye"--"He will be").
  3. Although one should think about how Hashem's name was pronounced in the Temple (as it is spelled), one is forbidden to pronounce Hashem's name this way and one who does so loses his portion in the world to come.[4]
  4. When reciting the name "E-lohim" one should think about the fact that Hashem is strong, all-capable, and all-powerful.[5]

Sources

  1. S.A. 5:1
  2. M.B. 5:1
  3. S.A 5:1 The Gra however, as quoted in M.B. 5:3, holds that one need not think about Hashem's existence throughout time when reciting Hashem's name because one need only concern himself with the pronunciation of the word he is reading--not the way it is written. However, even the S.A agrees that one need not think about Hashem's existence throughout time when Hashem's name is spelled "A-donai" (M.B 5:3).
  4. M.B 5:2
  5. S.A 5:1