It must have been 15 years ago. The davening in my morning minyan was a little fast for me. To make matters worse, the davening speed difference often left me in a situation where I davened faster to keep up, only to find myself waiting for the Baal Tefillah to finish the Shema. We already had a fixed pace for Pesukei D’Zimra, so I suggested to the Rabbi, that we add some additional split times, before and after the Shema. The Rabbi told me that such an enactment would drive the Baalei Tefillah crazy.
Here I am 15 years later, davening from the Amud as an Avel for the first time in my life at a Nusach Sefard Naitz minyan. The first rule of a Naitz minyan is that you have to start Shemoneh Esrai after sunrise. Although poskim have said that there is at least a one minute allowance here, many Naitz-goers want to get as close as possible. If you start 10 seconds late, you start to enter the danger zone.
To try to hit the Naitz time as close as possible, we have a rule of thumb to hit Tehilas 30 seconds before sunrise. There’s another rule to start Emes V’Yateziv two minutes before sunrise.
From the beginning of Berachos, there is a set four minutes to Rabbi Yishmael, five minutes to Hodu and 16 minutes to Borechu, with a consistent pace for Pesukei D’Zimra on the way to Borechu. There’s also a suggested limit of 7 minutes for the private Shomoneh Esrai, 6 minutes for Chazra HaShas and 50 minutes from start to finish. So here is what the suggested splits would look like if Naitz was at 6:24 am.
Rabbi Yishmael: 6:04
Emes V’Atziv: 6:22
Chazaras HaShatz: 6:31
Now I understand what my Rabbi meant when he said it would drive the Baal Tefillah crazy. To tell you the truth, it does get easier as time goes by. Besides the minyan is the slowest non-Yeshiva minyan in town. The people take their davening seriously. And if you’re not davening from the Amud, it’s a real pleasure.
Postscript: It could be worse. Here is an article about the time pressures at other Vasikin Minyanim.
Originally Published August 2014