Da’at – “Daat is different from every other aspect of our consciousness. It’s not just another mental faculty like intellect, imagination, and emotion, but rather the pure, open, field of consciousness in which all the other faculties operate. Daat is the sense of “self” that underlies them – the true “I”, the true “you”. It’s the source of our capacity for self awareness, will, attention, feeling, connection, knowledge, conscience, compassion, free choice, self leadership, self-healing, and (somewhat ironically) self transcendence. When the noise of the middos and hirhurim are silenced and we return to our daas, we experience a profound sense of calm, serenity, inner peace and centeredness – a sense of returning to our true self. It is a simple, still, yet potent knowing. In this state, our innate value, worth, and self-love are clear, tangible, unquestioned and unquestionable.” (Rav Doniel Katz)

Da’at Elyon – “Somewhat ironically, while daas is our self, it is also the gateway and platform to launch beyond our self into the transcendent super-consciousness of our Divine soul. Daas Elyon, literally the “Higher Self”, is the root and super-conscious source of our soul, personality, and destiny. Above and beyond the limitations of embodied consciousness, daas elyon has access to worlds, wisdom, and influence beyond what our rational mind can comprehend. It knows the true purpose and potential of our life, and operates as a teacher, guide, and conspirator in helping us to achieve it. The ultimate perfection of any person is to align their lower self in order for the infinite light and love of their higher-self to come down and be expressed through it.” (Rav Doniel Katz)

Hakarah V’Hargasha – At this level, soul touches soul. I know and sense beyond all that I know or think about you to your superconscious Source. Only by connecting to the other at that level can I truly begin to understand them. This leads to a profound sense of identification with the other and true compassion for them. We feel the other as ourselves.

Rav Katz says on this “It’s the capacity of the self to reach beyond self – to connect, sense and resonate with an “other” as opposed to just thinking thoughts about them, or feeling attraction or repulsion toward them. This profound mechanism of daas-consciousness is experienced as a kind of beautiful, non-intellectual awareness of that thing, a felt-sense and deep recognition of what we place our full attention on. It produces a strong feeling of unity and bonding with the “other”, as if, in that moment, the other unites with us, becomes part of us, and through that is “known” to us in the deepest sense.”

HaOhrot HaDaat – Level above yishuv hadaat where the silenced and settled mind becomes filled with Light and we experience a felt-sense of fiery aliveness from the higher connection. Synonymous with Devekut (Unification of HKBH with His Shekhinah). 

“Hishtavut “Equanimity; Resilience; the capacity to maintain a calm inner state of peace, wellbeing and joy, free from emotional turbulence, no matter what daily chaos and challenges you face.” (Rav Doniel Katz)

Hitbodedut – “Meditation for experiencing the Divine in solitude. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov adds that in this state one should converse freely with G-d.” (Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh)… “The verb, “to meditate,” is represented by the word Hitboded. The word Hitboded is derived from the root Baded, meaning “to be alone.” Literally, then, Hitbodedut actually means self-isolation, and in some cases, it actually means nothing more than physical seclusion and isolation. In many other places, however, it is used to denote a state of consciousness involving the isolation of the self, that is, the isolation of the individual’s most basic essence. Thus, when discussed in a Kabbalistic context, the word Hitbodedut means much more than mere physical isolation. It refers to a kind of internal isolation, where the individual mentally isolates his essence from his thoughts. One of the greatest of all Kabbalists, Rabbi Chaim Vital (1543–1620), often speaks of such mental seclusion, saying that “one must seclude himself (hitboded) in his thoughts to the ultimate degree.” In doing so, one separates his soul from the body to such a degree that he no longer feels any relationship to his physical self. The soul is thus isolated, and as Rabbi Chaim Vital concludes, “the more one separates himself from the physical, the greater will be his perception.” (Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan)

Hitbonenut – In-depth contemplative meditation, elevates one to the level of histaklut, “observing” or “gazing,” and then to the high level of dvekut, “clinging to G-d.” Contemplative meditation also leads in a downward motion to “action,” via “arousal of the heart.” Thus contemplative meditation is the axis of the entire gamut of human spirituality, from action to clinging to G-d.” (Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, Inner.Org).

Hitkashrut V’Hitchabrut (psychic bonding, merging, connection, and identification/feeling with the “other” as myself). 

At this level, not only do I become aware of your super-consciousness, I reach directly into the innermost of your soul, to touch the infinite, where you and I are totally at one. By revealing the essential nonlocal bond between us, I reach out to you whenever you are, whenever you are. This is where we can influence/hashpa’ah the other and the other influences us through our mutual connection and kavanah. This is the state of bestowal we’re aiming for – being in alignment with Hashem and allowing the Shefa to flow down through us and outward to others, transforming and elevating.

“Remarkably, through binding and uniting my mind with another person or object, I can influence it, and be influenced by it, through pure consciousness alone. This action of “inter-including and interconnecting” my daas with another is more than a supernatural technique or a fun party trick. In fact, it’s central to our ultimate purpose in this world – namely, to use our mind, heart and intent to transform and elevate everything we interact with.” (Rav Katz)

Kavanah – Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan zt”l says “This word is translated as “concentration” or “feeling” or “devotion.” In context, the literature speaks of worshiping with kavanah or maintaining kavanah while performing a sacred act. However, looking at the origin of the word kavanah, we immediately see that it comes from the Hebrew root kaven, which means “to aim.” Therefore, kavanah denotes “aiming” consciousness toward a certain goal. The most apt translation is “directed consciousness.” When one has kavanah in worship, one is allowing the words of the service to direct one’s consciousness. The mind is brought to the state of consciousness defined by the prayer one is reciting. In this respect, the prayer is used to direct the consciousness. The word kavanah is also associated with various actions, especially those involving fulfillment of the commandments or rituals. Here, too, kavanah denotes clearing the mind of extraneous thought and concentrating totally on the action at hand. The act itself becomes the means through which the person’s consciousness is directed. In addition to the general concept of kavanah, various Jewish devotional works, especially those of a Kabbalistic nature, contain collections of specific kavanah meditations, or kavanoth, for various rituals. These kavanoth are used to direct the mind along the inner paths defined by the esoteric meaning of the ritual.” (From Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide)

Kavanah is not mere intention of the mind. The root word of Kavanah is M’cha’ven. We are not asked to be M’chashev / to think a Kavanah, but rather to M’chaven, whose root letters also mean to ‘equalize’. Meaning that, to have Kavanah is to be like the Kavanah, to be equal to it. Not to think about Atzilut, but rather to be Atzilut. Through this intentional laser like focus, we become totally absorbed into the other.

Rav Doniel Katz defines kavanah as “The capacity to willfully, and with clear intent, focus our mind, consciousness, and entire being on any person, place, or object of our choosing. True kavanah is not just “mindful,” but also “heartful;” not just intellectual, but also experiential. The more kavanah we have – the more concentrated on and absorbed with another we become – the more our sense of self dissolves, as do the boundaries that seem to separate us.”

Simcha – “The capacity to experience the Divine Presence in one’s life directly corresponds to the presence of simchah in a person’s heart. Simchah is an acknowledgement of G-d’s presence infused in the present.” (R. Dr. Benjamin Epstein)

Tefilah – “The word hit-palel comes from the root palal (פלל), which in turn is related to the root balal (בלל)… The root balal denotes bringing a fresh element into a mass, incorporating this element into all parts of the mass, and this forming a new material out of the mass.

This is the Jewish concept of a judge’s task, [and it is for this reason that the verb palal means “to judge”]. The judge must bring justice and fairness, which are elements of Divine Truth, into the case. This must penetrate all elements of the dispute. Therefore, by bringing true justice into what was angry dissension, the judge transforms it into harmonious unity. 

When one does this to himself, he is said to hit-palel, that is, “to judge himself.” Hit-palel means to take an element of Gods truth and make it penetrate all phases and conditions of our being and our lives. This allows our entire being to gain a degree of harmony in God. 

Jewish tefilah is hence very different from what is usually conceived of as prayer. It is usually an expression from within, or an expression of that with which the heart is already filled. Rather, it is a renewal and penetration of truth which comes from the outside.

If our prayers were not tefilah… working on our inner selves to bring them to the heights of recognition of the truth and to to resolutions for serving God, then there would be no sense in having fixed times and prescribed forms for them. But our prescribed prayers are not facts and truths of which we are already conscious, they are concepts which we wish to awaken and renew in ourselves. The less one may feel inclined to recite a prayer, the more necessary it may be to do so” (Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, Commentary on Genesis 20:7). 

Yishuv HaDaat – “The first stage to free ourselves from constricted consciousness; the capacity to clear, settle, and silence the mind from thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations that build up throughout the day. The root and foundation of tefilah, of all Divine Service, of all spiritual development and is the key to unlocking our potential.” (Rav Doniel Katz).

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