Unsafe at any Speed – Davening from the Amud

My father passed away on the 2nd day of Nissan (April 2nd), so I have been in Aveilus for a little over 2 months. Prior to that I had never davened from the Amud (led the service). In this post, we’ll look at one of the trickier parts of davening from the Amud, going at the right speed.

What makes davening speed tricky is that in any given minyan, there will be people who prefer a slower davening and those who like their prayer a little faster. In addition, not everybody has the ability to daven fast, so it may be difficult for a person to meet the minyan’s speed requirement.

I think I’m getting faster, but currently I daven about 1-3 minutes slower than the average Mincha or Maariv in my neighborhood. In my own Shul, I’ll take the amud and the members seem to be willing to put up with my minor speed deficiency. Another consideration that comes in to play here, and at any minyan where the Shul’s Rabbi is davening, is to make sure that you finish your silent Shemoneh Esrai before, or concurrently, with the Rabbi. I daven faster in these situations because I don’t want to see the Rav taking 3 steps back, while I’m still in Shema Koleinu.

Shacharis is more difficult because people have to get to work, so there’s more of a pressure to go faster. I daven weekdays at a Neitz minyan which is currently starting at 5:00 AM and ending on Tuesdays Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:45 AM. Nonetheless there are people at that time who still want the Baal Tefilah to go as fast as possible. This minyan also has a number of “take-it-very-seriously” daveners, so there is a contingent of “go slower”s. I haven’t davened from the amud there yet, but I plan to in the upcoming months.

I should point out that nobody has said anything to me about the speed of my davening, nor have I heard anybody utter a “Nu”. If anything people, have encouraged me to daven from the Amud. Nevertheless, I do feel that when davening from the amud one should try to daven at a speed that’s acceptable to the majority.

2 thoughts on “Unsafe at any Speed – Davening from the Amud”

  1. Do you find that preoccupation with speed (yours, the group’s, the rabbi’s) hurts your concentration or emotional involvement with the prayer?

    1. Bob, davening from the Amud negatively effects both my concentration and emotional involvement with the prayers. I am hoping this will get better as I get more comfortable with taking the Amud. My Rav says that I don’t have to daven from the Amud at every opportunity and that my own personal davening is a consideration.

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