Judging Fast Daveners Favorably

By Todd Greenwald

Growing up my family davened at an orthodox shul, although we were more traditional. Every Motzae Yom Kippur, the shul asked the same person to daven maariv. Why? Because he was fast!! Back then it was great. After I became frum it bothered me greatly. We should be davening that first maariv after Yom Kippur slowly with much concentration. One Yom Kippur I remarked to my father how it bothered me. He related the following story about this gentleman:

“It was D-Day and this gentleman was off the boat and in the water approaching the beach. People from his platoon were being killed all around him. As he was moving to shore he prayed to Hashem and said, G-d if you get me out of here alive, I will go to shul every day for the rest of my life. My father told me that the man was true to his word and attends shul everyday.”

I was amazed at such an extraordinary feat. I wondered how Hashem received this man’s T’fillos as he fulfilled his daily obligation for close to 60 years. Whether he davened fast or slow, he lived up to his commitment until he recently passed away. I remember meeting him once in shul on a summer vacation and asked after his well being. He informed me that he had cancer and the chemo was rough but he still pushed himself to go to shul.

May we always judge people favorably and be inspired by this man’s remarkable commitment.