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Many have the custom to recite a short prayer known as Leshem Yichud before every Mitzvah, prayer, and Torah learning.
Practice to Recite It
- Some say that it is not obligatory, and, in fact, the Noda BeYehudah took serious issue with reciting Leshem Yichud. Nevertheless, one who can focus more intently on what he is doing by reciting Leshem Yichud prior to the action or prayer should do so.
Reciting Hashem's Name
- One should be careful not to pronounce or even spell out the Shem Havaya in the text of the Leshem Yichud.
- One of the purposes in reciting Lshem Yichud is to focus one's intent on the mitzvah at hand. This is part of the general obligation to do mitzvot intentionally. See the Having Kavana for Mitzvot page for more details.
Specific Cases of Lshem Yichud
- In the Shem Yichud for the Sefirat Haomer it is proper not to recite the words לקיים מצות עשה since halachically we hold that it is only rabbinic.
- Noda BeYehuda, Mahadura Kamma Yoreh Deah 93 and Mahadura Tinyana Orach Chaim 107 in an attack on Chassidim. Magen Avot (Orach Chaim 1 fn. 1 at the end) cites Rav Yosef Meshash (Mayim Chaim 1:61) who opposed it in his community of Meknes.
- Yalkut Yosef Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 5:7. See Yechaveh Daat 3:48 and 6:29, and Emek Yehoshua 3:20 cited in Magen Avot (Lebhar, Orach Chaim 1 fn. 1 at the end)
- Yalkut Yosef Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 5:8. See Yabia Omer (vol. 9 Orach Chaim 12)
- Or Letzion 3:16:2 writes that one shouldn't recite it but if one wants one can.