Hi Hachamim! I have a rather simple question in regards to birchat Avot (the first blessing in the amida) I understand that if one does not have kavannah in the first blessing he is not yotzei the amida. My question is what is considered having Kavana as far as being yotzei? Does it have to be a thought out understanding of the meaning of the words or is it presence of mind as knowing that you are praising Borei Olam? Thanks so much!! Only beracha vehatzlacha!
Kavana refers to concentrating on. and understanding what one is saying. Even if one can’t translate each and every word, one must understand the general concept of that tefilla and concentrate on it when saying it.
See Shulchan Aruch O:C 98:1, 101:1.
Rav Chaim Brisker [Tefilla Chapter 4] holds that in addition to the above concentration which is necessary for the first bracha, throughout the entire Shmone Esrei one must have in mind that he is now standing in front of Hashem and praying to him.
In any event even if one did not have the above intentions, the halacha is not to repeat the Shmone Esrei.
See Biur Halacha 101:1 sv. Vhaidna.