A LITTLE WITH INTENT IS BETTER THAN MUCH WITHOUT INTENT [Tefilah: quantity]
(Mishnah): It says "Ishe Re'ach Nicho'ach" regarding Olas Behemah, Olas ha'Of, and Minchah, to teach that it does not matter whether one does (offers) much or little, as long as he intends l'Shem Shamayim.
(R. Zeira): We learn from "Mesukah Shenas ha'Oved Im Me'at v'Im Harbe Yochal" (whether he works much or a little, there is reward.)
(Rav Ada bar Ahavah): We learn from "bi'Rvos ha'Tovah Rabu Ochleha u'Mah Kisharon li'V'aleha (Ki Im Re'os Einav." Kohanim get more to eat from a bigger Korban, but Hash-m cares only about the intent of the one who brought it.)
Shabbos 10a: Rava saw Rav Hamnuna pray at length. Rava said 'he abandons eternal life (Torah, to pray) for temporary life! (Prayer is mostly for matters of this world.)
Rav Hamnuna holds that Torah and Tefilah each have their time. (We do not rush Tefilah in order to return to learning.)
Berachos 16b (Mishnah): If a Chasan wants to say Shma on the first night, he may;
R. Shimon ben Gamliel says, it is not proper for everyone to take the name (show that he is able to concentrate)!
34a (Beraisa): Once, Talmidim complained that the one leading the prayer in front of R. Eliezer was praying too long.
R. Eliezer: This is not as long as Moshe, who prayed for forty days and nights!
A different time, Talmidim complained that the one leading the prayer was praying too quickly.
R. Eliezer: This is not as short as Moshe (who said only five words in his prayer for Miriam) -- "Kel Na Refa Na Lah"!
61a (Rav Huna citing R. Meir): One should say few words in front of Hash-m - "Al Tevahel Al Picha v'Libcha Al Yemaher... Yiheyu Devarecha Me'atim."
Shabbos 127a (Rav Yehudah): There are six things for which a person receives dividends (of his reward) in this world, and the principal is intact for him in the world to come... concentration in prayer...
Question: A Mishnah lists only four such things, i.e. honoring parents; bestowing Chesed; and making peace between people; learning Torah is equivalent to all of them.
Answer: Rav Yehudah's six are included in the four. (Concentration in prayer is Chesed.)
Rif and Rosh (Berachos 44b and 9:25): One should say few words in front of Hash-m - "Al Tevahel Al Picha..."
Divrei Chamudos (84): There are customs to say many Korbanos and requests. I oppose two practices. One is that they bless on many things, and minimize intent. A little with intent is better than much without intent. Secondly, if one is able to learn, it is better to learn, and say only the Tefilos that Anshei Keneses ha'Gedolah enacted, and what was enacted for Pesukei d'Zimrah and matters such as Eizehu Mekoman, which are like obligations upon everyone. We say that Talmud Torah is as great as all the Mitzvos (combined) also regarding Tefilah.
Divrei Yatziv (Likutim v'Hashmatos 52): Also the Sforno on the verse "Yihyu Devarav" explains like the Rif and Rosh. All explain that excessive prayer decreases intent. Tzedah l'Derech says that Chachamim said that Mitzvos do not require intent, i.e. Mitzvos with an action. Tefilah is primarily in the heart. The Shulchan Aruch taught this (a little with intent is better than much without intent) before teaching that it is good to say the Akeidah, for one must say it with intent (Magen Avraham 7). Rabbeinu of Sasov said 'if my only sin were saying 100 Berachos a day (without proper intent), this would be enough (to need to confess greatly).' All the more so we should be ashamed of saying His name without intent, and we should not add a Mizmor that is not obligatory. The time saved can be used to learn Shulchan Aruch and contemplate Hilchos Teshuvah, or to have intent in Birkas Avos, which is Me'akev Shemoneh Esre. If one has intent, he may say it, but he should not make it a fixed matter.
Rambam (Hilchos Tefilah 1:9): One may not decrease from the enacted Tefilos, but one may add to them. One may pray the entire day. The additional Tefilos are like Nedavos (voluntary Korbanos). One must have a Chidush (new request) in all of the 13 middle Berachos. If he had a Chidush in at least one of them, this suffices.
Ra'avad: One need not have a Chidush.
Rambam (10): The Tzibur may not pray a Nedavah, for the Tzibur does not bring a Nedavah. An individual may not pray a second Musaf, since it may not be brought for Nedavah. Some Ge'onim forbid a Nedavah on Shabbos and Yom Tov, for we do not offer Nedavos then.
Ra'avad: The Tzibur brings Nedavos, i.e. Olos when the Mizbe'ach is idle! However, it was not common. R. Yochanan said that it would be great to pray the entire day regarding Shemoneh Esre, which is mercy and request. One pauses between one Tefilah and another in order to settle his mind and prepare to request. On Shabbos and Yom Tov, we do not request. We only thank. R. Yochanan agrees that we do not pray Nedavah then; it is Berachos l'Vatalah.
Kesef Mishneh: The Tzibur brings Nedavah when there are extra Shekalim in the chamber, but l'Chatchilah we do not give money for Nedavos of the Tzibur.
Rosh (Berachos 1:2): It is proper for everyone with Yir'as Shamayim to pour out supplications over the Churban - "Runi va'Laylah b'Rosh Ashmores."
Maharsha (61a DH l'Olam): One should not pray excessively for relief from his afflictions, speak about them or question His ways.
Shulchan Aruch (OC 1:4): It is better to say few supplications (over the Churban) with intent, than many without intent.
Taz (3): The Tur said 'one who does much is the same as one who does little, as long as he has intent in his supplications.' This is difficult. If the one who says much has intent, why is he equal to one who says few? If he says much without intent, why does the Tur say afterwards 'it is better (to say few with intent, than many without intent)'? Initially, he equated them! The Gemara said that they are equal, as long as .he intends l'Shem Shamayim. I answer based on Shabbos 10a. It is the same to pray at length, like Rav Hamnuna, who holds that Torah and Tefilah each have their time, or to pray briefly, like Rava, in order to have more time for Torah. However, one must intend l'Shem Shamayim, i.e. the one who minimizes Tefilah. Therefore, the Tur says that sometimes praying too much causes a lack of intent. However, he says that he must minimize in order to have intent. It is better to pray little with intent than much without intent, i.e. this is why he minimizes.
Magen Avraham (6): The Gemara equates one who does much to one who does little, as long as he intends l'Shem Shamayim. I.e. even though the one who did much had intent, if the one who did little was unable to do (much), he is pleasing to Hash-m like the former. The Gemara connotes like this. It brings a proof from Olas ha'Of, which an Oni (poor person) brings. The Torah calls it Rei'ach Nichu'ach, like it says about Olas Behemah, which a rich person brings.
The questioner in Shevus Yakov (2:44): Recently, some special individuals began to gather in the Beis ha'Keneses at the start of the last third of the night to mourn over the Churban. Some disapprove, for R. Shimon ben Gamliel says that it is not proper for everyone to take the name. Rashi explains that this means showing that he is meticulous in Mitzvos. This is haughtiness. I say that the Rif, Rambam and Beis Yosef rule like the first Tana, who permits being stringent, for in Pesachim we reverse the opinions, and the Halachah always follows R. Shimon ben Gamliel in the Mishnah. In many cases Poskim say that one who is exempt, but is stringent, is called a Hedyot (not a Chacham). In other places, they are not concerned for this. I say that when the primary opinion is lenient, one may not be stringent. However, increasing supplications and afflicting oneself over the Churban is not included. There is great reward for doing so. Whoever increases is praiseworthy. Hash-m desires the heart. I explain that a little with intent is better than much without intent, due to haughtiness. There is no haughtiness in saying supplications at night. The Rosh, Tur, Shulchan Aruch and Acharonim praise this. Surely there is no concern for haughtiness of a Tzibur.
Shevus Yakov: I say oppositely! There is no concern for an individual with Yir'as Shamayim who wants to be stringent. The Rosh said that it is proper for one with Yir'as Shamayim to do so! There is no haughtiness for a Tzibur if the entire or majority of the Tzibur does so. If only a minority does it, there is concerned for haughtiness. Tefilos were enacted corresponds to Korbanos. To add a Tefilah b'Tzibur transgresses Bal Tosif (adding to Mitzvos). R. Yochanan said that it would be great to pray the entire day, i.e. for individuals, if they will have intent. This is not only for Shemoneh Esre. It is even for other Tefilos. (See the Ra'avad above, 1:10.) Some put in Sidurim supplications from Sha'arei Tziyon and the Shlah, and the Tzibur says them. This is wrong. Bal Tosif applies. If we require saying too much, perhaps one will not say everything enacted (Gitin 3a). Especially one who learns Torah full time should be concerned for saying extra Tefilos, due to Bitul Torah. Torah and Tefilah each have their time. If one wants to increase Tefilah, he can say Tehilim, which is like engaging in Torah, and has many Segulos. Surely, any individual may pray extra according to his needs. Even a Tzibur may do so for any affliction, that it not come upon them. However, they may not do so on a fixed basis.
Sho'el v'Nish'al (4:23): The custom is to read Shanyim Mikra v'Echad Targum on Erev Shabbos, or on Shabbos. I say that it is fine to read it from Sunday. Be'er Heitev brings from Sefer ha'Kavanos to read it on Erev Shabbos after midday. This is based on Kabalah. It is only l'Chatchilah for one who has time. Surely if one will read it on Erev Shabbos or Shabbos hastily without so much understanding, it is better to read a little with intent. All the more so it is better to read a little each day and investigate and be Mechadesh. The whole purpose is to know and understand what is written!
Mishnah Berurah (1:12): If one increases with intent, this is better. If due to Ones one cannot increase, or doing so will decrease intent, Hash-m considers it as if he did much. The same applies to learning Torah. One who can learn should not say additional supplications printed in Sidurim. Rather, he should learn.
Kaf ha'Chayim (29): One will be asked whether he fixed times for Torah, but not how much he learned. It is better to learn five chapters slowly, than 20 chapters hastily.
Tosfos Yom Tov (Avos 2:15/16): The previous Mishnah taught that there is much reward for Torah. One might have thought that it suffices to learn for a short time, and then he may be idle, for he already earned much reward. Therefore, it teaches 'if you learned much, you will get much reward.' I.e. if not, you will not get much reward, for there is punishment for Bitul Torah. Medrash Shmuel says so. This resolves what it says at the end of Menachos. An Oni who brings a bird is equal, for he does according to his ability. Surely, one who could do much, and does little, is not equal to one who does much. They are equal only when they do similarly based on their ability. Our Mishnah discusses one who could learn much (therefore, he gets much reward only if he learns much).
Aruch ha'Shulchan (51:9): One should not say Pesukei d'Zimrah quickly, rather, word by word. If others say it quickly and one wants to pray b'Tzibur, it is better to skip than to say it quickly. A little with intent is better than much without intent.