Cash for Kavvanot
This is similar to my Cash for Kaddish post. Though I deal with this most often. Let me say from the outset that I am not speaking to what any other mekubal does or does not do. I am only expressing my own understanding and shitah which may well be wrong. So coming back to cash for kavvanot. Typically for me the conversation goes something like this:
Potential Buyer(PB): Do you write Mezzuzot with Kavvanot.
PB: How much are they.
Me: 300 shek.
PB: How much for one without Kavvanot.
Me: 300 shek.
PB: Why don’t you charge for the kavvanot? Others charge for the Kavvanot.
To which my answer is the same as I will give here. I received from Rav Tzion Brakha ZTzUK”L and also from Rav David HaKohen ZTzUK”L in the name of Rav Mordekhai Sharabi ZTzUK”L that one cannot be sure that one’s Kavvanot are doing anything until one is a Baal Ruah HaKodesh, until then it is just practice.
Now I know that Doctors get paid to practice on you, however, at least they are giving you something tangible(it may well make your condition worse, but it is tangible). So I personally feel that charging for kavvanot is either dangerously close to charlatanism or out and out gaavah(pride). I mean given that teaching from my Rabbanim, to go around and say that the Kavvanot cost so much because they do X for you, is essentially saying that I am a Baal Ruah HaKodesh(halavai). What kind of level do you have to be on so that such a pronouncement about oneself is not pure pride? Whatever level that is I am definitely not there yet, I’m not even scratching the surface, heck I haven’t even found the surface to begin to scratch.
Look I love learning Kabbalah. I believe fully that the limud is important just as it says in so many books. There are even times when I think I can sense something immensely spiritual going on when I am making use of the Kavvanot. However the truth is I don’t know if that is truly something spiritual or just an emotional swing brought on by drinking my third cup of coffee, consuming large amounts of chocolate, or both(if I am swilling cafe mocha latte’s).
Even if I knew for certain that it was doing something, I’m still not sure that I could charge for it… The Divrei Shalom writes on his commentary to Shaar Ruah HaKodesh, that if one knows the Kavvanot one ought to do them, and not abstain for the sake of convenience, in fact the Marh”u even says that they are more improtant than Torah study. So with that thought, I would charge somebody for causing me to miss my morning seder, maybe I should charge people more for not wanting Kavvanot.