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Monday, November 08, 2004

The Ten Minute Shmoneh Esrei

No matter what I do, I just can't seem to break the Ten Minute Shmoneh Esrei (the important part of the prayer service which is said standing silently). I've tried everything.

I've tried saying each word verrrrry sloooooowwwly.

I've tried..............putting...............long......
.........each......... word.

I've tried repeating each word 3 times.

I've tried taking a little snooze in the middle, just before "Slach Lanu", so that when I start beating on my chest, people will look at me and think, "he's only up to that?"

I've even tried using one of those new-fangled intralinear prayer books, where there's 3 words written on top of each other, some forwards and some backwords. But that just made me dizzy (maybe you need some kind of 3D goggles for that one).

But I still can't stretch it out to more than 4 minutes, 5 tops. And then I'm done, waiting around for 5 minutes for everyone else to finish. It's embarrassing to be the first person done...makes me feel somehow....inadequate.

I just can't figure it out. Even the Chazzan's repetition of the Shmoneh Esrei, out loud and slow, rarely takes more than 5 minutes.

Any suggestions?


dilbert said...

When I daven Ma'ariv at the kollel, I have the same experience. While I am glad to have the chance to daven as slowly as I want, and to not to be in the usual rush I find myself on weekdays, I am always among the first ones done. I keep in mind when I start that I don't have to go fast, and I daven with as much kavanah as I can. If I finish 5 minutes before everyone else, I just pick up a safer from the table. It isn't a race to be slow, and if you are happy with what you said and how you said it, then you should be satisfied, you have done everything you can do. Going slow does not neccessarily mean more kavvanah. You certainly can find sefarim on meaning of prayer and kavvanot and such, but you certainly should not feel bad for finishing early. Remember what R. Zusha said, when it is time for the accounting, you will not be asked why you weren't Moshe Rabbeinu, but if you were the best Zusha that you could be.

DovBear said...

I agree with Dil.
A slow Shmonah Esray is nothing to feel guilty about.

PsychoToddler said...

I know, but...10 minutes? I've timed them! How can it take 10 minutes? Maybe I need to try MULTIPLE naps during the amidah.

jrose said...

Why don't you try adding some personal prayers in the appropriate places? You'd be surprised at how much longer your Shemoneh Esrei will become...

MoChassid said...


Reb Zushya???!!!!!

All this time, and I didn't realize you were a closet Chassid.

PsychoToddler said...

No no NO, MO!

He's quoting Shlock Rock:


(awesome bass playing on that song)

dilbert said...

Mo- I learn from whatever sources will teach me. That particular story does not provide me with comfort, but actully frightens me.

PsychoToddler said...


Just to add a little perspective, I was up at Camp Moshava in Wild Rose this past summer (however briefly) and I was consistently the LAST person done with Shmoneh Esrei.

Shira Salamone said...

Speaking of perspective, try putting yourself in *my* shoes--I didn't learn to davven the weekday amidah 'til I was about 28, give or take a year, so imagine how long it takes *me* to davven. Oy, vey, don't ask. :)

PsychoToddler said...

It's one thing to go slow because you're having trouble with the words. No one would fault you for that.

But sometimes it seems to me that people are deliberately slowing down in an attempt to seem more "frum." Like there's some kind of kudos you get for being the last one done.

For the record:
Last night

Me: 4 minutes
Chazzan: 6 minutes

The gap is closing....

Shira Salamone said...

Personally, I'm not fond of *any* kind of showing off, whether it's a davvenner playing "frummer than thou" or a cantor showing off his gorgeous voice. (Personally, I'm not a great fan of chazzanut--I'll take good-old fashioned nusach any day. If the cantor wants to sing opera, he should try out for the Met.) I think anyone who davvens slowly just to show off ought to get a tzniut check-up.

Moshe Y. Gluck said...

It's the quality that counts, not the quantity. "Echad hamarbeh, v'echad hamam'it, u'v'lvad she'yichavein libo lashamayim."

dilbert said...

does this mean you are going slower? or the chazzan is going faster?

WAIT.... Try shuckling slower. The problem proabably is that you are shuckling too fast. AS you approach the speed of light, time slows down, so that even if you are davening the same speed as the chazan, time is slower for you, so the elapsed time is less. That way you may have davened for the same amount of time, but because time slowed for you, it seems you went faster.

PsychoToddler said...


You are a woman after my own heart. I'm glad my wife doesn't read this.


That's yet another great Shlock Rock song (with an awesome bassline):


And you need to work on a better commando name.


Since I went to Einstein, I'm forced to daven at or approaching the speed of light.