Maimonides has said that prayer without kavannah is no prayer at all. One who prays without kavannah, it is as if he has not prayed at all. Prayer without kavannah is like a body without a soul.
Kavannah is meaning and intention. When our thoughts are muddled and we are ill focused, we cannot pray with kavannah.
I was looking forward to shul this evening, the meaning that could be imposed as Yom HaShoah comes to a close and the Young Adult group meets, since I haven't been in a few months. But then life got in the way. That life that consists of my youth and the people therein who have managed to plunge themselves into irresponsibility and the inability to act as adults. And I am once again reminded, through tears, that I have always been grown up. Simple, simple things cannot be accomplished, simple rules and requirements and promises cannot be maintained or kept. Yet I can't ground them and I can't punish them and I can't disown them because they are blood.
So my spirit, my intention and meaning, are clouded this evening, this Shabbat. I want to pray to G-d for strength and courage and the ability to look beyond the faults brought and pain caused by others but tonight is not the night. I'm weakened in spirit and will and tonight I'll gather my thoughts and with hope and intention perhaps I will sit before the Torah tomorrow morning with a congregation and pray.
I asked myself, is it better to pray alone with kavannah or to pray in a community without kavannah? And I considered this on my way home from work.
But now, the question is irrelevant.
Shabbat shalom, friends.