It’s not uncommon for people to have an opinion about the Baal Tefillah. He’s going to slow. He’s going to fast. He’s singing too much. He’s not singing enough. He’s putting on a performance. He’s not inspiring the Tzibbur. These opinions take on different intensities depending on whether it’s Yomim Noraim, Yom Tov, Shabbos or during the week.
In the secular world, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but in the Torah world our goal is to work towards the day when “Hashem is One and His Name is One”. If we are not united as a people, we will not reach that goal. Everyday time we have a negative opinion of the Baal Tefillah we disrupt the spiritual unity of the Shul at some level, even if we don’t express it.
Here are a few Baalei Tefillah prototypes. We might disagree with them, but if we consider that this may be where our Baal Tefillah is coming from, it can lessen our frustration and the resulting dis-unity.
1) The Quick davener is trying to get the repetition over with as soon as possible.
2) The Slow davener is following the halacha of not “throwing” a blessing from his mouth, rather he is concentrating and making the blessing calmly.
3) The Inspirational davener is here to inspire and will sing many nigunim.
4) The Non Inspirational davener wants to daven the best that he can to help lift all the prayers to Shemayim.
5) The Performing davener is using his G-d given talents to inspire to help lift the prayers.
6) The Pareve davener is only up there because the Gabbai asked him and he’s doing the best he can.
The Torah wants us to to give the Baal Tefillah the benefit of the doubt and keep connected to him. If you want to take the next step, you can follow the halacha and follow along with the Baal Tefillah and answer Amen to each brocha.
Klal Yisroel needs all our prayers, here’s one small step to make them better.