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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Davening Etiquette

From the perspective of this Shliach Tzibur:

1. Keep it down. It's nice to shrei and yell and daven real loud, but pipe down once the Shliach Tzibur (the guy leading the service) starts to say his part. No Chazan should have to yell and scream over the cacophony to be heard. It's just plain rude to keep yelling out your personal davening at the expense of the tzibur. Especially if you are several prayers behind.

2. Make a designated "Emes". Every minyan should assign one person to be the last "Emes" at the end of the Shma. Ideally, this should be the Rabbi of that congregation. Nobody needs to be frummer than the Rabbi. When he says his Emes, then the Chazan can say his and the service should proceed. There is no need for the competition to be the last one. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who shleps out their kriyas shma in an attempt to be "the last man standing" is just being chutzpadik to the Rav. If you really are that slow, that's fine; there's nothing wrong with it. Just keep it to yourself and don't try to be louder than everyone else. And if you're one of those guys who puts in a 30 second pause between Shma and Ve'ahavta (yes, I've been counting) in order to artificially prolong your prayer, then it's MY time that you're wasting there, and I will not be waiting for YOU to finish.

3. Synchronize your Kaddish. Maybe it's my musical background, but I really do think that it's possible to both say Kaddish aloud and listen to the other mourners at the same time so that you say Kaddish together. Nothing irritates me more than one guy who tries to go much faster than everyone else (maybe so he can get all the Amens for himself) or somebody who goes deliberately slower than the rest. Say it rhythmically and together. If you can't hear what the other guys are doing, go stand closer to one of them. And if you're that guy who just can't keep a beat, slowing down and speeding up and putting in bizarre, awkward pauses (imagine William Shatner saying Kaddish), then for goodness sake try to be quiet at least!

That is all.


Doctor Bean said...

How many more months of this do you have left?

I think after the year is done you've earned a nice long time of davining at home.

Anonymous said...

This post makes me laugh! At my old synagogue, there was this old guy who was always offbeat and mispronounced an awful lot of Hebrew words. Now, I know he was saying them wrong because one day I deliberately did not pray out loud but instead focused on the Cantor pronounciation and this guy's pronounciation. He was wrong. But he always had to be louder than everyone else. He once had the audacity to correct the assistant Rabbi's pronounciation. In front of everyone.

I wanted to clobber him. Much like it sounds you want to clobber your fellow congregants.

Ezzie said...

I actually think that one is not allowed to daven louder than the chazzan. (...because people might get confused and think he is the chazzan.)

Tell them that if they're really frum, they'll stop! :)

PsychoToddler said...

Bean: I officially stop saying Kaddish over Pesach. But it's my intent to keep up with the minyan after that.

Jessica: Does it show? I had one of the "new guys" come up to me last Monday (I made the mistake of davening with the "main minyan" on New Years instead of my usual crack-o-dawn minyan) and tell me to slow down. I amost bopped him in the face.

PsychoToddler said...

Ezzie: It's actually the kids that are the worst offenders. I think they are being given the impression that it is meritorious to daven this way. You ever try yelling over a group of 10 year old kids?

m said...

The davening out loud thing drives me crazy. I go a lot farther than you and believe that people should show consdieration for ALL their fellow daveners. Hashem is going to hear you whether you scream it at the top of your lungs or whether you whisper or even if you do not audibly say anything but do it all in the heart. Hashem hears you. But I don't need to hear you (not you, PT but anyone else) and doing it out load distracts me.

The rabbi could also learn to daven a little quieter. Sometimes it is pure performance - honestly, a concert and not a tefillah.

Anonymous said...

I missed the William Shatner joke the first time I read this post. That particular mental image makes me giggle like a school girl.

I can't believe some dude told you to slow down. Maybe he should learn to speed up. Or maybe just smiling and thanking him for the input would work too.

I lack patience with other people: I should work on that.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

I call the first problem "when people who aren't the hhazan think they are" and it drives me crazy, especially when i'm not the hhazan so there's nothing i can do about it.

as hhazan/sh"tz, you can assert your authority; as just a fellow davener, i find it hard to do anything more than glare at them and clear my throat... or start davening out loud right back at them.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Great Post! Synchronize your Kaddish: Some people just can't do it. They say it at one speed and will not slow down or speed up no matter what. My trick is to just be louder since this guy can't get his act together. Fortunately being loud is not one of problems :)

Jewish Blogmeister said...

stay at one speed.....typo

PsychoToddler said...

Jessica: Sorry, I added it after you left your comment. Didn't mean to mess with your mind.

M: Not gonna argue with you. I don't necessarily have a problem with people davening out loud--I think it does inspire the people around them to have a little more cavana, but I do have an issue with them ignoring the shliach tzibur or preventing people from hearing him. I've had people walk right up to me and look at my siddur because they could hear what I was up to--and I'm not necessarily quiet.

I did cringe when the Rabbi came back from one of his Lakewood trips saying how he admired how noisy their davening was.

steg: another pet peeve: People who layn or mumble along with the baal koreh. I once had a guy sitting behind me mumbling along so loudly that I was having a difficult time hearing the baal koreh. I turned around and told him to keep it down. He glared at me.

JB: Actually, I realize not everyone can dual process (IE talk and listen at the same time). My MO is usually to try to sync up with someone else. However it can be problematic when 3 or 4 people are saying it and it's clear no one is listening to anyone else. When that happens, I take a deep breath and belt it out. They will usually fall in line.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

So, in addition to Captain Kirk, does your shul have blue aliens with antennae? Because I would so move to Milwaukee and join a shul if they had members who had antennae.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

in some shuls they only let one person say kaddish at a time, btw.

Kiwi the Geek said...

The whole time you've been doing this, I've been thinking it's interesting, and neat, how a Jewish service is led by members of the congregation, while the rabbi is just a participant. Obviously this requires more preparation/involvement than just going and finding a seat in a Christian service. We have pastors and some volunteers who run the service every week, and most people are just in the audience.

Doctor Bean said...

Jessica: I've been to his shul. There's no way to tell if the congregants have antennae because they are obscured by the giant black felt hats.

Anonymous said...

doctor bean-

you mean they would be obscured if they existed.

Anonymous said...

I am hoping this doesn't come across as totally disrespectful to shul davening in general:

We went to a local petting zoo and were walking past a ton of goats all bleating up a storm. RaggedyDad and I both had the same thought. With the droning, rhythmic quality and the off-tune alte kakker goats having their say here and there, we turned to each other and said, "Sounds just like shul!"

Doctor Bean said...

Sarabeth: Yes. That's what I mean. I didn't mean to suggest that Chassids are extraterestrial.

Anonymous said...

In terms of waiting for the rabbi to be finished, What happens if your rabbi as a rule of thumb recites davening almost as fast as he can and is almost the first person to be finished all the time?

when I daven I never take the same amount of time twice. Sometimes I have alot of kavana and end up reciting it slowly and totaly lose track of time until i suddenly find my self in al hatzadikim or bone b'yerushalayim and all of a sudden i hear the shliach tzibbur starting. (thats when I'm lucky. When I'm not lucky I sometimes find my self in shomeia tefila and all of a sudden I hear them belting out one of the responses of kedusha and realize that I didn't stop davening for kedusha that happens to me about once a month)

at other times I finish before the rabbi and have a hard time remembering what exactly I said and I sit there wondering just what I fudged and what I totaly skipped.

Dont those people know that its actualy halachicaly assur to read out loud along with the baal koreh unless you are reading out of a valid sefer torah? shows just how frum they are. Same for learning durring davening. It's nice that you want to learn but your inadvertanly showing how not-frum you actualy are because halacha unqequivicaly forbids learning during leiyning, during chazzares hashatz, and at most other times durring davening for a veriety of reasons. Only thing you are allowed to do during those times is listen and if appropriate, respond.

and sometims PT, it is appropriate to slow down for the slowest. I know my minyan bops off tachnun and basicaly does a shoddy job on it to save time, they also do it to bame madlikin and with the extra sections for maariv motzoi shabbos. It drives me absolutely nuts, because I know for a fact only 2 or 3 of them can actualy say it that fast and of them 2 don't even say it at maariv at all (ari instead of our ashkenaz) so when I've davening as shliach tzibbur and actualy saying all of it (because I refuse to skip with out direct orders from the rabbi and refuse to make a joke our of saying those prayers) people get bored with how long davening is taking.

sometimes slowing down a little is imminently appropriate. You just have to be judicious about what you slow down on and what you do not.

Anonymous said...

I like Raggedymom's goat analogy: sometimes services do sound like a wandering hoard of various voices. Or at least they do at my synagogue (which, to my knowledge, lacks captain kirk and blue aliens).

Anonymous said...

haven't you ever seen men in black? the aliens disguise themselves as people silly!

(and beanie, what makes you say they're not?) (not bashing on chassidim at all just well...)

kasamba said...

I never noticed all that before!
I think I'm going to have to go shul!

tuesdaywishes said...

Most of the shuls around here have legislated the synchonized Kaddish. What they do, at least on Shabbat mornings, is that all of the guys saying Kaddish stand together around and behind the Bima. They wait for a certain Gabbai to give the downbeat (and he waits for the shul to be quiet, which is a seperate discussion)and then they recite it as you say, rhythmically and in unison. It is slow, especially because there are three Kaddishes at the end of Musaf in the Nusach Ashkenaz (four from Elul to Shemini Atzeret)but it has a certain drama and dignity that I find lacking when the Kaddish is haphazard.

PsychoToddler said...

Priss: The thought of Captain Kirk saying kaddish is getting funnier every time I think of it. Hmm….

Jessica and Bean: I think there are many members of my shul who could pass for space aliens.

Steg: Yes, that’s true. I would feel ripped off in such a place. I feel good about saying Kaddish. I wouldn’t want someone to take that away from me.

Kiwi: Orthodox services are very much participatory. There is a fairly steep learning curve as well. One reason why it’s still the smallest branch. However, as with anything that’s difficult, there is a true sense of accomplishment when you are able to get a handle on it. That’s part of the appeal of the baal tshuva movement—your self esteem is enhanced when you are able to master this huge commitment. Some people mistake this for true spiritual enlightenment. Yes, there are a lot of rules, and yes it is hard to follow them, but its not just about the rules. It’s about the purpose of them. Some people forget this when they embark on their journey.

Anyway, the purpose of the Shliach Tzibur is really to direct the rest of the congregation and keep the prayers going. So the sheep allusion is not that far off.

Sarabeth: Are you meaning to imply that some of my fellow congregants DON’T have antennae?? Don’t you??

RM: We are after all descended from shepherds.

DB: “I didn't mean to suggest that Chassids are extraterestrial.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with it!

HNC: “What happens if your rabbi as a rule of thumb recites davening almost as fast as he can and is almost the first person to be finished all the time?”

Can I go to that shul? Seriously, in that case, then the Rabbi should signal the Chazzan when it is appropriate to go on. I’ve seen places where they use an egg timer. Whatever. There should be some reasonable limit. What I see going on now is ridiculous.

FWIW, neither my Rabbi nor the Rosh Kollel are the last ones done. They are, in my opinion, both genuinely holy men, and while they certainly don’t rush through, I can tell that they aren’t trying to shlep it out either. They say it with Kavannah at the speed which they feel is appropriate. The fact that there are other people who make a big show out of taking much longer is what irritates me.

With regards to your silent Shmoneh Esrei, by all means, take as long as you need. But I don’t understand why people deliberately try to stretch it out. I see these kids (nearing bar mitzvah) who are obviously done, but won’t take the three steps back because they are busy looking around to see what everyone else is up to. They are getting this idea from somewhere. I find it obnoxious.

If I say my shmoneh esrei on “autopilot”, I’m done in 3-4 minutes. My out-loud repetition is consistently 4 minutes, and I say every word pretty clearly. I don’t see how some people can spend upwards of 10 minutes on it unless they are trying to show off to somebody. Either way, I start my repetition when six guys are done.

“and sometims PT, it is appropriate to slow down for the slowest.”

Eh. Maybe. I do slow down. I’m running at about 50-60% my normal speed. But wait for the slowest? What is this, a caravan? Put a little effort into keeping up with the kehilah. I do wait for the slow guy in our morning minyan, because we are usually close to 10 guys then, and I can’t afford to leave anyone behind or we don’t have a minyan for shmoneh esrei.

I agree that it’s perplexing how people are inconsistent with the speed in which they say various tefilot. The same guys who spend 3 minutes on shma can zip through Uva Letzion in 30 seconds.

I must admit I used to “speed daven” my self by just scanning words. In order to keep a more reasonable pace for the kehilla, I just say every word aloud (but quietly) and a good, steady clip. Whether it’s shmoneh esrei, psukei dezimrah, or long tachanun. That way I know that when I get to the end, a “reasonable layperson” should have been able to say the same thing.

Jessica: I guess we got it all here.

Kasamba: You’d have to go to all the early am men’s minyanim to catch this stuff.

Tuesday: Yes, I noticed this when I went to the Young Israel in Hillcrest. I was the only one not there in the back (my uncle made me sit with him…squirm…) I felt like I was doing something illegal. I thought they would give me a ticket.

Kiwi the Geek said...

Oh, and regarding praying in unison: Many Christian churches, I think mainly Lutheran & Episcopal, have "responsive readings" where the worship leader and congregation take turns reciting verses of a Bible passage. The congregation ALWAYS speaks in unison; if you don't you might get funny looks. Maybe some of these fast/slow guys should visit a Lutheran church and practice. Hee hee!

Ezzie said...

I think they are being given the impression that it is meritorious to daven this way.

Ugh. That's because kids get "points" or "stars" or whatever for davening out loud in the first few grades. Ruins 'em for life. I'd tell you to speak to the principal of the day school there, but his kids always were pretty loud when we grew up together... :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun in your minyan. In our synagogue the Kaddish was never said all together, I always thought that that´s how it should be :)

der ewige Jude said...

On behalf of those of us that are Hebrew challenged. Is it really necessary to daven like you're trying to get finished in time to catch the last flight out of Saigon? (Not to imply that this is the case here) Would you call up your mother and say: Himomhow'sitgoingthanksforthegiftsyousentthekidsgottagobye. Click. Elapsed time 2 seconds. Just something to think about. :)

PsychoToddler said...

Kiwi: There are responsive portions here too, but a good part of the service is said by all at the same time. So it's a little tricky. It's like reciting a series of psalms relatively quickly. Most of it is said by the individual congregation members to themselves, then the Chazan says the last line out loud and they all move to the next.

Ezzie: I think many of the elders in the community here would not agree with me and think the noise is great. That's one reason why it perpetuates.

I don't disagree one hundred percent, but I do think it's rude when the chazzan has to scream to be heard above the din. Not to mention that it strains my voice. I had a gig Saturday night and I had serious reservations about leading maariv that night.

smorgasboard: welcome. A minyan where everyone gets along is just too bland, don't you think?

der ewige jude: Nice beard, dude. First of all, what are you saying? Are you saying God is Hebrew Challenged? Because I'm pretty sure He can understand us at any speed. I have no problem with people who are slow because they are new at Hebrew. Those people should take their time. Just quietly, and don't make everyone else wait. However, this is a working man's minyan. To quote you, I really do need to "catch the last flight out of saigon." There are other minyanim for people who want to shlep it out.

BTW I had a shabbos guest over who told me that every time he's been to see a rabbi, the rabbi has had to rush through numerous phone calls and interruptions and people knocking at the door, and he wondered how the rabbi would react to someone coming in and droning, "helllllloooooo.....rabbbbbbbiiiii.....IIIIIII......Haavveee....a..... requessssttttt....."

In other words slow does not always equal better.

Also I should clarify that this "express minyan" that I attend does shachris in 45 minutes without layning on days when we skip tachanun. Is that still too fast for you?

Anonymous said...

"I do think it's rude when the chazzan has to scream to be heard above the din."

I wholeheartedly agree with this one. People should at least try to be ok beat/on key/on cue. Also, something that drives is when people are whispering, the rabbi/cantor keep looking over and raising their voices, and people keep whispering.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I have three. But I wouldn't like to hazzard a guess about people I haven't yet met.

der ewige Jude said...

hey, sorry, didn't mean it as a personal attack. Obviously Hashem can understand our prayers in whatever language and format we use to expresses them. We daven not because Hashem needs to hear us everyday, but because we need it as a way to express our devekut. If we get to concerned about just finishing we can lose that. By the way, was that beard envy?

PsychoToddler said...

Jessica: That's one thing I have to give my congregation props for--aside from the mumbling along, there's no extraneous talking. Especially when the Rabbi speaks. (However, snoring, that's another story...)

sarabeth: Reminds me of an old joke: A guy goes to the doctor and says, "doc, I don't know how to tell you this, but between you and me, we have 5 antennae" and the doctor says, "you mean you only have one?"

der ewige jude: It was a compliment! And don't worry, I didn't take anything personally. One thing nice about Psychotoddler is we actually talk to each other here.

Regarding the purpose of tfilla, I understand what you're saying, but at the same time chazal gave us specific times and regimented our tfilot. Plus there are two specific issues with me which are at odds with each other: I need to say kaddish, most of which are at the end of the service, so I can't leave early, and I also need to get to work. So either the davening runs on time or I miss kaddish.

Were it not for that, I guess I could take a more "happy minyan" approach to davening, but I think that my yekkish nature would be dissatisfied with it, and I'd eventually stop coming (which is more or less what happened the last time I tried attending the minyan regularly).

I actually am worried about what will happen when I am no longer the shliach tzibur. I assume things will slow down dramatically, and I will get more and more frustrated and stop coming. I need to figure out how not to let that happen.

David said...

I am so with you - in my non-NYC Orthodox shul, we can always spot the NY/NJ visitors, because they're the ones who are loudly saying the sh'ma while the rest of us are in the Shmonei Esrai.

exceptionally frustrating.

Shira Salamone said...

"Kiwi: Orthodox services are very much participatory. There is a fairly steep learning curve as well. One reason why it’s still the smallest branch. However, as with anything that’s difficult, there is a true sense of accomplishment when you are able to get a handle on it."

As a relative latecomer to praying in Hebrew, I can attest to the steep learning curve--it took me literally months to learn the weekday Amidah at the age of roughly 28, and, at 57, as I try to add to my davvening (praying), I'm still cracking my teeth over plenty of prayers, Psalms, and other biblical quotations used in the siddur (prayerbook). (Psalm for Wednesday, Borchi Nafshi for Rosh Chodesh, Musaf for Chol HaMoed, anyone?) As an adult learner, I've found that the only way to learn anything in the siddur is by the Carnegie Hall method--"Practice, man, practice." Several months' worth, usually. But I can attest to the sense of accomplishment, as well. It does give me a sense of pride to know that I can prayer whole pages of the siddur that I didn't know as recently as three years ago. Now I have to make sure that I don't lose my kavannah, my "intent" or focus on the meaning of the prayers,in the process of adding new ones.

"it’s perplexing how people are inconsistent with the speed in which they say various tefilot. The same guys who spend 3 minutes on shma can zip through Uva Letzion in 30 seconds." Given that I davven at roughly the speed of molasses, I can understand "speed differentials" perfectly. At my speed, I have little choice but to "prioritize." Everything about Hashem creating the world in mercy? Slow. Angels? Fast. Actual Kedusha d'Yotzer? Slow, through Yotzer Ha-m'orot. Ahavah Rabbah (morning)/Ahavat Olam (evening)? Slow. Sh'ma? Slow! Everything after that until Ezrat Avoteinu? Warp speed. Amidah? Slow! Everything after the Matbeah (hard-core required part of the service, from Bar'chu/Yotzer Or through end of Amidah)? Depends entirely on how much time I have.

Here's a paradox: I now know my way around the siddur well enough that I can almost always figure out what prayer the shaliah tzibur (prayer leader) is up to, but then, I often have to ignore him anyway because I'm not there yet! Speed is a real issue. On the one hand, people do have to get to work. But slow davveners like me very often end up a page or two page (or more) behind the rest of the congregation. There's no really good solution. Me, I just keep davvening away at my own pace, *quietly.*

"I do think it's rude when the chazzan has to scream to be heard above the din. Not to mention that it strains my voice." That reminds me of a word I had with a former rabbi, requesting that, if he asks a congregant to lead kiddush, he not start V'Shamru himself, lest he force the person reciting kiddush to continue to sing in a key that's not his own.

It also strains my patience when some impatient soul gets the jump on the shaliach tzibur and starts singing a prayer that the leader starts a second later, and even worse when the "jumper" keeps singing in a different key! That's one of my pet peeves. Whether it's the cantor or my husband doing the leading, it's so disrespectful. Who's leadin', anyway?

Shira Salamone said...

Amazingly enough, I actually forgot something. (Oy, as if I haven't been long-winded enough already. Sorry.) Having a touch of the old Attention Deficit Disorder, I do find it difficult to focus on my own prayers when others around me are davvening out loud (especially given the fact that Ms. Molasses here is often literally not on the same page). I hate to say it, but I've actually come to prefer davvening at home alone. There are, however, serious problems with praying at home. For one thing, if I do that, I miss everything that can't be done without a minyan--Kedushah, hearing the Torah read aloud, etc. For that reason, and because davvening alone can be downright anti-social and isolating, I always go to synagogue on Shabbat and Yom Tov after finishing the Amidah of Shacharit, even though that means I have to speed-davven through Musaf. For another thing, there's that admonition (of Hillel?) from Pirkei Avot (Verses [Ethics] of the Fathers, "Al tifrosh min ha-tzibbur, Do not separate yourself from the community."

Shira Salamone said...

Just to clarify, lest I cause unintended offense: Obviously, going to synagogue with young children is a lot tougher than going as an individual. People (mostly women, given the traditional approach to who's counted in a minyan) make all sorts of decisions, not always the same from one Shabbat or Yom Tov to another, as to whether making Sabbath and Holiday at home with the children or going to synagogue is a higher priority. It's important for us to respect one another's choices.

NMK said...

"I’ve seen places where they use an egg timer. Whatever."

What!!!! An egg timer!!! I think I saw a pshat that said using an egg timer on Shabbat or Yom Tov was muktser (not the done thing) unless of course, one turned the timer upside down with the left hand using the right one as a guide only. In any event, I would not daven in such a place........

Shira Salamone said...

Mark, as a compromise, you might want to consider keeping up your Maariv minyan attendance, but cutting back on "weekday" Shacharit minyan attendance, if necessary for the purpose of getting to work on time, to two-three days per week, namely Sunday (if you have Sunday off), plus Mon. and Thurs., so that you can be there for the weekday Torah readings and contribute as a leiner.

PsychoToddler said...

David: I guess I don't get it. It's especially rude if it's a guest who is doing it. The message is: You hicks are not good enough. Let us self-righteous and important NY'ers show you how it's done.

NMK: I doubt the egg timer is used on shabbos. They have an atomic clock for that.

Shira: Like I said, the rant is not directed at people who are learning hebrew or learning to daven, unless of course what they are trying to emulate is the loud obnoxious behavior of some of the other people. Then I have to set them straight.

But if you have someone who is lehavdil, taking driving lessons, you don't expect that all the cars on the highway are going to be going 40mph because that's the rate of the person learning to drive. For that person to become indignant because everyone is passing him/her is just inappropriate and unrealistic.

"you might want to consider keeping up your Maariv minyan attendance, but cutting back on "weekday" Shacharit minyan attendance, if necessary for the purpose of getting to work on time, to two-three days per week"

I do that when I have to be on call and can't make shacharis, but as a rule I don't like to start making excuses to skip shul in the morning. I know where that road leads.

Anonymous said...

During my year of mourning for my father, I was the Chazan who would come into 770 (on days when there was no Yeshiva) and make a super-fast-Minyan; Hodu-Aleinu in 25 minutes flat on non-Leining days.
In Yeshiva, Rabbi P didn't let me go that fast; but I would usually have Davening finished in about 40 minutes, so my Chaverim could go out to the yard and play punchball.

Why? Fourteen-year-olds who are beginning to question the Hashkafa of their upbringing don't care to have a meaningful Davening, they're just getting through the requisite Hebrew mumbo-jumbo because it's what the system wants.

Shira Salamone said...

Okay, so you've already worked out the details--you excuse yourself from davvening Shacharit with a minyan only on days when you have to be on call. Good call. :)

"But if you have someone who is lehavdil, taking driving lessons, you don't expect that all the cars on the highway are going to be going 40mph because that's the rate of the person learning to drive. For that person to become indignant because everyone is passing him/her is just inappropriate and unrealistic."

The speedy-Gonzalez routine is understandable on a weekday, when at least some of the minyannaires are trying to get to work on time. But, it's, frankly, incomprehensible (to me, at least) on a Shabbat or Yom Tov. What's the rush? Where's anyone going, that they have to davven as if the shul building were on fire? That's why I davven Shacharit at home on Shabbat and Yom Tov--there's no way in bleep that I'm *ever* going to be able to pray even as much of Birchot haHashar and P'sukei d'Zimrah as *I* can manage in half an hour flat (at least, not with any kavannah/focus).

Today, because I'm a bit under the weather and got up late, I speed-davvened my way through Shacharit, read the Torah reading and Haftarah in English, and did Musaf, all in about an hour and forty minutes. That's about as fast as this olde birdie can fly. It wasn't much fun, though. I prefer to take the scenic route on Shabbes.

Rahel said...

I never have been able to figure out how someone can get through Shemoneh Esreh in less than fifteen minutes. I can read Hebrew, but I think reading Braille goes a lot slower than reading print, or at least that's what it seems like. I've tried reading in English to see if that speeds things up, since that's my first language, but it only shaves about three or so minutes off, so I think it's just the fact that you have to use both index fingers to read Braille, whereas I think sighted people can follow a page faster with their eyes. I totally get the rude congregants thing though. That completely annoys me. PT, great blog.

PsychoToddler said...

Shira: I do slow down when I daven mincha before Shabbos, for example. I follow the shul's minhag regarding speed in that case. Also, before I was in availus, when I would daven kabbalas shabbos, even though I thought I was going pretty slow, the Rabbi told me I needed to slow down more (as a point of reference, Friday night services take 80 minutes in our shul).

So what I would do is go as slow as I possibly could, then wait a little, and then, when I thought I couldn't possibly go any slower, I'd wait a little more. And he seemed happy with that, even pointed me out to one of the bochurs as an example of someone who is capable of learning. Of course, I get very little personally out of davening this way, but hey, if it makes the Rabbi happy, I'm willing to go with it.

Rahel: sorry, you are confusing me. You daven in braille? So you are blind? But I went to your website and it's all about DVD releases. Is that one of those splogged sites or whatever you call it? How are you reading my blog? Can you read this comment? Are you sighted and reading in braille for some other reason? Please explain!

The only reason it should take ANYONE 15 minutes to get through shmoneh esrei is if they are not proficient in reading hebrew and are struggling with the words. A competent shliach tzibur can easily get through it in 5-6 minutes at a leisurely pace, saying it all out loud.

Anonymous said...

Tell me if there is a kabbalistic or higher spiritual reason, for I'm not here just to rank on anyone:

BUT, consider this:

The night you asked your girlfriend/fiancée to marry you. You essentially have 1-3 short paragraphs to say to her, the woman you have fallen in love with and spent the week nervous about this moment. Maybe she'll not be ready or say no....

You come to the moment, you get out the ring, she is transfixed and beaming, some tears.

Then you go through your monologue at the speed of light, as fast and monotone as you possibly can, like in group davening. ...ANDFORALLTHESEREASONSYOUMAKEMEFEELHAPPYALIVEGOODWILLYOUMARRYMERACHAELYESORNOTAKEYOURTIMETHINKOKAYNOWGO!

Why would she feel anything but disgust? (assuming she doesnt laugh and think youre so hilarious that she says yes)

See what i mean? If this is prayer, even though you know the meaning of the hebrew, why would you ever address such "heart-felt" prayer to the One we supposedly love?

That's my problem with the ridiculous speed of davening. If it's because it would take too long, that proves my case.

Granted when the singing comes it slows down, but this attitude of "crank it up you're wasting my time" is pure competition and it makes me sad

It doesnt have to be like Christian services but i think Jews should either truncate the tefillah or slow it down so that God isn't like some punk we're hurrying up with so we can finish....sorry if i go to far but thats what i'm feeling at minyans...certainly not much elevation