Apr 15, 2007

I have become one of them!!!

To put it mildly, I am generally not the one in the shul with the longest shmoneh esrei.

I can daven pretty fast and on a day where I am fast forward setting, I can be one of the first to finish. On the other hand, I have been improving the level of my kavvana over the past few months, and while I still sometimes finish pretty fast, usually I am now somewhere in the middle. On a day that I can get some good concentration, I might even make it pretty far into the pack.

When saying shmoneh esrei, I always found that upon completion the chazzan almost always has to waita good few minutes to get the ten people so he can start the repetition. He might get 7 or 8 guys finished and then the rest will often be saying their own prayers slowly and everyone has to wait for a couple more guys to finish. That always annoyed me. Not a lot. I guess it would depend on how slow they were davening.

The kicker is that no matter how slow they were davening, as soon as the chazzan gets his final 10 guys ready and starts the repetition, most of the other slow daveners will finish their prayers within the next minute, almost as if they wanted to make sure everyone saw they were davening slowly. As soon as everyone notices, they can finish up.

As a "fast davener" I always noticed that and it sort of amused me, and if I was in a rush it annoyed me. I would sometimes think "tircha d'tzibbura" -they are causing us all to be delayed and wait for them. they should speed up.

Now that I am slowing down I find myself in a predicament. It has happened, more than once, specifically today at mincha, where we had a minyan m'tzumtzam, an exact minyan. By my davening a slow shmoneh esrei I am causing everyone else to wait for me. But if I speed up so people do not have to wait for me, I do not get to have the level of concentration I would have liked to have, and maybe I miss out on asking for certain requests and tefillos I would have liked to say. It happens to be that when I noticed that the chazzan had finished and was waiting for just a couple more people, including me, I sped up so the services would not be delayed because of me.

I now understand them a little better, as I find myself in their situation. My question is am I supposed to speed up, as I have been doing when I find them waiting for me, or am I under no such obligation and I can daven for as long as I want/need?

Something to think about (As Rabbi Yaakov Solomon from aish.com would say)...


  1. המתפלל עם הציבור, לא יאריך בתפילתו יתר מדיי. אבל בינו לבין עצמו, הרשות בידו:
    Hil Tefilah 6

    At first I thought it menat if you are Mitpalel for the Tzibur i.e. Shaliach Tzibur but after reading the rest of the halacha and the nossei kelim it is clearly a matter of 'Yohara".

  2. I am not sure from where this quote is - hilchos tefilla 6 in what sefer?
    it sounds from that quote that when davening in shul one should not daven too long, but when davening alone he can go as long as he wants

  3. Rambam of course and your surmise is correct.

  4. i think the arukh hashulhan has something about the rav not making the kahal wait for him.

    i don't know if i am slow or if my hebrew is that bad (or both), but it would take me hours to daven shaharit with kavanah. how can someone really do this from beginning to end in 40 minutes?

    -ari kinsberg


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