Appreciating Fast Minyanim

In a previous post, I discussed the Matzah Minyan which allegedly finishes an entire weekday Shacharis is 18 minutes. After reading the article, a friend made some good points about faster davening, which I would like to discuss along with a few points of my own.

Everybody approaches davening in a unique way. I started davening when I was in my twenties and I took it seriously from the start. Even though I’ve worked hard on improving over the years, I still have so far to go in terms of my pronunciation, concentration and understanding. It’s a lifelong pursuit.

People who started davening before their Bar Mitzvah established patterns when they were young. These patterns can be hard to change. Some worked on it more seriously in their late teens and 20s, some in midlife, and some even later. Between the different starting points and different rates of change, we have a wide range of davening speeds and styles, but it’s probably safe to say that we all can improve in this area.

Those committed to a daily minyan have made a serious commitment to their davening. Not everyone takes the trouble to daven every day with a minyan and those that do realize that it will positively affect their davening. It’s no small thing, no matter how fast the minyan or the daveners.

How fast the davening should be in a given minyan filled with a wide range of preferences is not a simple decision. The rule of thumb is probably that it should be as fast as it was yesterday. Hopefully we can find a way to collectively work on improving, but until then the slower daveners can come early and leave late and figure out the proper pace in order to start the Shemoneh Esrai with the Shliach Tzibbur. We’re all in this together and that’s the point that makes us a Tzibbur.

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