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Preview: Comments on Psycho Toddler: Davening Etiquette

Comments on Psycho Toddler: Davening Etiquette





Updated: 2017-06-14T08:02:27.856-05:00

 



Tell me if there is a kabbalistic or higher spirit...

2017-02-28T21:13:20.634-06:00

Tell me if there is a kabbalistic or higher spiritual reason, for I'm not here just to rank on anyone:

BUT, consider this:

The night you asked your girlfriend/fiancée to marry you. You essentially have 1-3 short paragraphs to say to her, the woman you have fallen in love with and spent the week nervous about this moment. Maybe she'll not be ready or say no....

You come to the moment, you get out the ring, she is transfixed and beaming, some tears.

Then you go through your monologue at the speed of light, as fast and monotone as you possibly can, like in group davening. ...ANDFORALLTHESEREASONSYOUMAKEMEFEELHAPPYALIVEGOODWILLYOUMARRYMERACHAELYESORNOTAKEYOURTIMETHINKOKAYNOWGO!

Why would she feel anything but disgust? (assuming she doesnt laugh and think youre so hilarious that she says yes)

See what i mean? If this is prayer, even though you know the meaning of the hebrew, why would you ever address such "heart-felt" prayer to the One we supposedly love?

That's my problem with the ridiculous speed of davening. If it's because it would take too long, that proves my case.

Granted when the singing comes it slows down, but this attitude of "crank it up you're wasting my time" is pure competition and it makes me sad

It doesnt have to be like Christian services but i think Jews should either truncate the tefillah or slow it down so that God isn't like some punk we're hurrying up with so we can finish....sorry if i go to far but thats what i'm feeling at minyans...certainly not much elevation



Shira: I do slow down when I daven mincha before ...

2007-01-19T09:54:00.000-06:00

Shira: I do slow down when I daven mincha before Shabbos, for example. I follow the shul's minhag regarding speed in that case. Also, before I was in availus, when I would daven kabbalas shabbos, even though I thought I was going pretty slow, the Rabbi told me I needed to slow down more (as a point of reference, Friday night services take 80 minutes in our shul).

So what I would do is go as slow as I possibly could, then wait a little, and then, when I thought I couldn't possibly go any slower, I'd wait a little more. And he seemed happy with that, even pointed me out to one of the bochurs as an example of someone who is capable of learning. Of course, I get very little personally out of davening this way, but hey, if it makes the Rabbi happy, I'm willing to go with it.

Rahel: sorry, you are confusing me. You daven in braille? So you are blind? But I went to your website and it's all about DVD releases. Is that one of those splogged sites or whatever you call it? How are you reading my blog? Can you read this comment? Are you sighted and reading in braille for some other reason? Please explain!

The only reason it should take ANYONE 15 minutes to get through shmoneh esrei is if they are not proficient in reading hebrew and are struggling with the words. A competent shliach tzibur can easily get through it in 5-6 minutes at a leisurely pace, saying it all out loud.



I never have been able to figure out how someone c...

2007-01-19T06:58:00.000-06:00

I never have been able to figure out how someone can get through Shemoneh Esreh in less than fifteen minutes. I can read Hebrew, but I think reading Braille goes a lot slower than reading print, or at least that's what it seems like. I've tried reading in English to see if that speeds things up, since that's my first language, but it only shaves about three or so minutes off, so I think it's just the fact that you have to use both index fingers to read Braille, whereas I think sighted people can follow a page faster with their eyes. I totally get the rude congregants thing though. That completely annoys me. PT, great blog.



Okay, so you've already worked out the details--yo...

2007-01-13T18:43:00.000-06:00

Okay, so you've already worked out the details--you excuse yourself from davvening Shacharit with a minyan only on days when you have to be on call. Good call. :)

"But if you have someone who is lehavdil, taking driving lessons, you don't expect that all the cars on the highway are going to be going 40mph because that's the rate of the person learning to drive. For that person to become indignant because everyone is passing him/her is just inappropriate and unrealistic."

The speedy-Gonzalez routine is understandable on a weekday, when at least some of the minyannaires are trying to get to work on time. But, it's, frankly, incomprehensible (to me, at least) on a Shabbat or Yom Tov. What's the rush? Where's anyone going, that they have to davven as if the shul building were on fire? That's why I davven Shacharit at home on Shabbat and Yom Tov--there's no way in bleep that I'm *ever* going to be able to pray even as much of Birchot haHashar and P'sukei d'Zimrah as *I* can manage in half an hour flat (at least, not with any kavannah/focus).

Today, because I'm a bit under the weather and got up late, I speed-davvened my way through Shacharit, read the Torah reading and Haftarah in English, and did Musaf, all in about an hour and forty minutes. That's about as fast as this olde birdie can fly. It wasn't much fun, though. I prefer to take the scenic route on Shabbes.



During my year of mourning for my father, I was th...

2007-01-13T12:46:00.000-06:00

During my year of mourning for my father, I was the Chazan who would come into 770 (on days when there was no Yeshiva) and make a super-fast-Minyan; Hodu-Aleinu in 25 minutes flat on non-Leining days.
In Yeshiva, Rabbi P didn't let me go that fast; but I would usually have Davening finished in about 40 minutes, so my Chaverim could go out to the yard and play punchball.

Why? Fourteen-year-olds who are beginning to question the Hashkafa of their upbringing don't care to have a meaningful Davening, they're just getting through the requisite Hebrew mumbo-jumbo because it's what the system wants.



David: I guess I don't get it. It's especially r...

2007-01-11T11:14:00.000-06:00

David: I guess I don't get it. It's especially rude if it's a guest who is doing it. The message is: You hicks are not good enough. Let us self-righteous and important NY'ers show you how it's done.

NMK: I doubt the egg timer is used on shabbos. They have an atomic clock for that.

Shira: Like I said, the rant is not directed at people who are learning hebrew or learning to daven, unless of course what they are trying to emulate is the loud obnoxious behavior of some of the other people. Then I have to set them straight.

But if you have someone who is lehavdil, taking driving lessons, you don't expect that all the cars on the highway are going to be going 40mph because that's the rate of the person learning to drive. For that person to become indignant because everyone is passing him/her is just inappropriate and unrealistic.

"you might want to consider keeping up your Maariv minyan attendance, but cutting back on "weekday" Shacharit minyan attendance, if necessary for the purpose of getting to work on time, to two-three days per week"

I do that when I have to be on call and can't make shacharis, but as a rule I don't like to start making excuses to skip shul in the morning. I know where that road leads.



Mark, as a compromise, you might want to consider ...

2007-01-11T08:57:00.000-06:00

Mark, as a compromise, you might want to consider keeping up your Maariv minyan attendance, but cutting back on "weekday" Shacharit minyan attendance, if necessary for the purpose of getting to work on time, to two-three days per week, namely Sunday (if you have Sunday off), plus Mon. and Thurs., so that you can be there for the weekday Torah readings and contribute as a leiner.



"I’ve seen places where they use an egg timer. Wha...

2007-01-09T23:42:00.000-06:00

"I’ve seen places where they use an egg timer. Whatever."

What!!!! An egg timer!!! I think I saw a pshat that said using an egg timer on Shabbat or Yom Tov was muktser (not the done thing) unless of course, one turned the timer upside down with the left hand using the right one as a guide only. In any event, I would not daven in such a place........



Just to clarify, lest I cause unintended offense: ...

2007-01-09T18:01:00.000-06:00

Just to clarify, lest I cause unintended offense: Obviously, going to synagogue with young children is a lot tougher than going as an individual. People (mostly women, given the traditional approach to who's counted in a minyan) make all sorts of decisions, not always the same from one Shabbat or Yom Tov to another, as to whether making Sabbath and Holiday at home with the children or going to synagogue is a higher priority. It's important for us to respect one another's choices.



Amazingly enough, I actually forgot something. (O...

2007-01-09T17:46:00.000-06:00

Amazingly enough, I actually forgot something. (Oy, as if I haven't been long-winded enough already. Sorry.) Having a touch of the old Attention Deficit Disorder, I do find it difficult to focus on my own prayers when others around me are davvening out loud (especially given the fact that Ms. Molasses here is often literally not on the same page). I hate to say it, but I've actually come to prefer davvening at home alone. There are, however, serious problems with praying at home. For one thing, if I do that, I miss everything that can't be done without a minyan--Kedushah, hearing the Torah read aloud, etc. For that reason, and because davvening alone can be downright anti-social and isolating, I always go to synagogue on Shabbat and Yom Tov after finishing the Amidah of Shacharit, even though that means I have to speed-davven through Musaf. For another thing, there's that admonition (of Hillel?) from Pirkei Avot (Verses [Ethics] of the Fathers, "Al tifrosh min ha-tzibbur, Do not separate yourself from the community."



"Kiwi: Orthodox services are very much participato...

2007-01-09T16:01:00.000-06:00

"Kiwi: Orthodox services are very much participatory. There is a fairly steep learning curve as well. One reason why it’s still the smallest branch. However, as with anything that’s difficult, there is a true sense of accomplishment when you are able to get a handle on it."

As a relative latecomer to praying in Hebrew, I can attest to the steep learning curve--it took me literally months to learn the weekday Amidah at the age of roughly 28, and, at 57, as I try to add to my davvening (praying), I'm still cracking my teeth over plenty of prayers, Psalms, and other biblical quotations used in the siddur (prayerbook). (Psalm for Wednesday, Borchi Nafshi for Rosh Chodesh, Musaf for Chol HaMoed, anyone?) As an adult learner, I've found that the only way to learn anything in the siddur is by the Carnegie Hall method--"Practice, man, practice." Several months' worth, usually. But I can attest to the sense of accomplishment, as well. It does give me a sense of pride to know that I can prayer whole pages of the siddur that I didn't know as recently as three years ago. Now I have to make sure that I don't lose my kavannah, my "intent" or focus on the meaning of the prayers,in the process of adding new ones.

"it’s perplexing how people are inconsistent with the speed in which they say various tefilot. The same guys who spend 3 minutes on shma can zip through Uva Letzion in 30 seconds." Given that I davven at roughly the speed of molasses, I can understand "speed differentials" perfectly. At my speed, I have little choice but to "prioritize." Everything about Hashem creating the world in mercy? Slow. Angels? Fast. Actual Kedusha d'Yotzer? Slow, through Yotzer Ha-m'orot. Ahavah Rabbah (morning)/Ahavat Olam (evening)? Slow. Sh'ma? Slow! Everything after that until Ezrat Avoteinu? Warp speed. Amidah? Slow! Everything after the Matbeah (hard-core required part of the service, from Bar'chu/Yotzer Or through end of Amidah)? Depends entirely on how much time I have.

Here's a paradox: I now know my way around the siddur well enough that I can almost always figure out what prayer the shaliah tzibur (prayer leader) is up to, but then, I often have to ignore him anyway because I'm not there yet! Speed is a real issue. On the one hand, people do have to get to work. But slow davveners like me very often end up a page or two page (or more) behind the rest of the congregation. There's no really good solution. Me, I just keep davvening away at my own pace, *quietly.*

"I do think it's rude when the chazzan has to scream to be heard above the din. Not to mention that it strains my voice." That reminds me of a word I had with a former rabbi, requesting that, if he asks a congregant to lead kiddush, he not start V'Shamru himself, lest he force the person reciting kiddush to continue to sing in a key that's not his own.

It also strains my patience when some impatient soul gets the jump on the shaliach tzibur and starts singing a prayer that the leader starts a second later, and even worse when the "jumper" keeps singing in a different key! That's one of my pet peeves. Whether it's the cantor or my husband doing the leading, it's so disrespectful. Who's leadin', anyway?



I am so with you - in my non-NYC Orthodox shul, we...

2007-01-09T09:08:00.000-06:00

I am so with you - in my non-NYC Orthodox shul, we can always spot the NY/NJ visitors, because they're the ones who are loudly saying the sh'ma while the rest of us are in the Shmonei Esrai.

exceptionally frustrating.



Jessica: That's one thing I have to give my congr...

2007-01-09T08:50:00.000-06:00

Jessica: That's one thing I have to give my congregation props for--aside from the mumbling along, there's no extraneous talking. Especially when the Rabbi speaks. (However, snoring, that's another story...)

sarabeth: Reminds me of an old joke: A guy goes to the doctor and says, "doc, I don't know how to tell you this, but between you and me, we have 5 antennae" and the doctor says, "you mean you only have one?"

der ewige jude: It was a compliment! And don't worry, I didn't take anything personally. One thing nice about Psychotoddler is we actually talk to each other here.

Regarding the purpose of tfilla, I understand what you're saying, but at the same time chazal gave us specific times and regimented our tfilot. Plus there are two specific issues with me which are at odds with each other: I need to say kaddish, most of which are at the end of the service, so I can't leave early, and I also need to get to work. So either the davening runs on time or I miss kaddish.

Were it not for that, I guess I could take a more "happy minyan" approach to davening, but I think that my yekkish nature would be dissatisfied with it, and I'd eventually stop coming (which is more or less what happened the last time I tried attending the minyan regularly).

I actually am worried about what will happen when I am no longer the shliach tzibur. I assume things will slow down dramatically, and I will get more and more frustrated and stop coming. I need to figure out how not to let that happen.



hey, sorry, didn't mean it as a personal attack. O...

2007-01-08T23:16:00.000-06:00

hey, sorry, didn't mean it as a personal attack. Obviously Hashem can understand our prayers in whatever language and format we use to expresses them. We daven not because Hashem needs to hear us everyday, but because we need it as a way to express our devekut. If we get to concerned about just finishing we can lose that. By the way, was that beard envy?



Personally, I have three. But I wouldn't like to h...

2007-01-08T20:04:00.000-06:00

Personally, I have three. But I wouldn't like to hazzard a guess about people I haven't yet met.



"I do think it's rude when the chazzan has to scre...

2007-01-08T19:39:00.000-06:00

"I do think it's rude when the chazzan has to scream to be heard above the din."

I wholeheartedly agree with this one. People should at least try to be ok beat/on key/on cue. Also, something that drives is when people are whispering, the rabbi/cantor keep looking over and raising their voices, and people keep whispering.



Kiwi: There are responsive portions here too, but ...

2007-01-08T15:39:00.000-06:00

Kiwi: There are responsive portions here too, but a good part of the service is said by all at the same time. So it's a little tricky. It's like reciting a series of psalms relatively quickly. Most of it is said by the individual congregation members to themselves, then the Chazan says the last line out loud and they all move to the next.

Ezzie: I think many of the elders in the community here would not agree with me and think the noise is great. That's one reason why it perpetuates.

I don't disagree one hundred percent, but I do think it's rude when the chazzan has to scream to be heard above the din. Not to mention that it strains my voice. I had a gig Saturday night and I had serious reservations about leading maariv that night.

smorgasboard: welcome. A minyan where everyone gets along is just too bland, don't you think?


der ewige jude: Nice beard, dude. First of all, what are you saying? Are you saying God is Hebrew Challenged? Because I'm pretty sure He can understand us at any speed. I have no problem with people who are slow because they are new at Hebrew. Those people should take their time. Just quietly, and don't make everyone else wait. However, this is a working man's minyan. To quote you, I really do need to "catch the last flight out of saigon." There are other minyanim for people who want to shlep it out.

BTW I had a shabbos guest over who told me that every time he's been to see a rabbi, the rabbi has had to rush through numerous phone calls and interruptions and people knocking at the door, and he wondered how the rabbi would react to someone coming in and droning, "helllllloooooo.....rabbbbbbbiiiii.....IIIIIII......Haavveee....a..... requessssttttt....."

In other words slow does not always equal better.

Also I should clarify that this "express minyan" that I attend does shachris in 45 minutes without layning on days when we skip tachanun. Is that still too fast for you?



On behalf of those of us that are Hebrew challenge...

2007-01-08T15:18:00.000-06:00

On behalf of those of us that are Hebrew challenged. Is it really necessary to daven like you're trying to get finished in time to catch the last flight out of Saigon? (Not to imply that this is the case here) Would you call up your mother and say: Himomhow'sitgoingthanksforthegiftsyousentthekidsgottagobye. Click. Elapsed time 2 seconds. Just something to think about. :)



Sounds like fun in your minyan. In our synagogue t...

2007-01-08T15:08:00.000-06:00

Sounds like fun in your minyan. In our synagogue the Kaddish was never said all together, I always thought that that´s how it should be :)



I think they are being given the impression that i...

2007-01-08T11:18:00.000-06:00

I think they are being given the impression that it is meritorious to daven this way.

Ugh. That's because kids get "points" or "stars" or whatever for davening out loud in the first few grades. Ruins 'em for life. I'd tell you to speak to the principal of the day school there, but his kids always were pretty loud when we grew up together... :)



Oh, and regarding praying in unison: Many Christia...

2007-01-08T11:02:00.000-06:00

Oh, and regarding praying in unison: Many Christian churches, I think mainly Lutheran & Episcopal, have "responsive readings" where the worship leader and congregation take turns reciting verses of a Bible passage. The congregation ALWAYS speaks in unison; if you don't you might get funny looks. Maybe some of these fast/slow guys should visit a Lutheran church and practice. Hee hee!



Priss: The thought of Captain Kirk saying kaddish...

2007-01-08T10:05:00.000-06:00

Priss: The thought of Captain Kirk saying kaddish is getting funnier every time I think of it. Hmm….Jessica and Bean: I think there are many members of my shul who could pass for space aliens.Steg: Yes, that’s true. I would feel ripped off in such a place. I feel good about saying Kaddish. I wouldn’t want someone to take that away from me.Kiwi: Orthodox services are very much participatory. There is a fairly steep learning curve as well. One reason why it’s still the smallest branch. However, as with anything that’s difficult, there is a true sense of accomplishment when you are able to get a handle on it. That’s part of the appeal of the baal tshuva movement—your self esteem is enhanced when you are able to master this huge commitment. Some people mistake this for true spiritual enlightenment. Yes, there are a lot of rules, and yes it is hard to follow them, but its not just about the rules. It’s about the purpose of them. Some people forget this when they embark on their journey.Anyway, the purpose of the Shliach Tzibur is really to direct the rest of the congregation and keep the prayers going. So the sheep allusion is not that far off.Sarabeth: Are you meaning to imply that some of my fellow congregants DON’T have antennae?? Don’t you??RM: We are after all descended from shepherds.DB: “I didn't mean to suggest that Chassids are extraterestrial.”Not that there’s anything wrong with it!HNC: “What happens if your rabbi as a rule of thumb recites davening almost as fast as he can and is almost the first person to be finished all the time?”Can I go to that shul? Seriously, in that case, then the Rabbi should signal the Chazzan when it is appropriate to go on. I’ve seen places where they use an egg timer. Whatever. There should be some reasonable limit. What I see going on now is ridiculous.FWIW, neither my Rabbi nor the Rosh Kollel are the last ones done. They are, in my opinion, both genuinely holy men, and while they certainly don’t rush through, I can tell that they aren’t trying to shlep it out either. They say it with Kavannah at the speed which they feel is appropriate. The fact that there are other people who make a big show out of taking much longer is what irritates me.With regards to your silent Shmoneh Esrei, by all means, take as long as you need. But I don’t understand why people deliberately try to stretch it out. I see these kids (nearing bar mitzvah) who are obviously done, but won’t take the three steps back because they are busy looking around to see what everyone else is up to. They are getting this idea from somewhere. I find it obnoxious.If I say my shmoneh esrei on “autopilot”, I’m done in 3-4 minutes. My out-loud repetition is consistently 4 minutes, and I say every word pretty clearly. I don’t see how some people can spend upwards of 10 minutes on it unless they are trying to show off to somebody. Either way, I start my repetition when six guys are done.“and sometims PT, it is appropriate to slow down for the slowest.”Eh. Maybe. I do slow down. I’m running at about 50-60% my normal speed. But wait for the slowest? What is this, a caravan? Put a little effort into keeping up with the kehilah. I do wait for the slow guy in our morning minyan, because we are usually close to 10 guys then, and I can’t afford to leave anyone behind or we don’t have a minyan for shmoneh esrei.I agree that it’s perplexing how people are inconsistent with the[...]



Most of the shuls around here have legislated the ...

2007-01-08T08:36:00.000-06:00

Most of the shuls around here have legislated the synchonized Kaddish. What they do, at least on Shabbat mornings, is that all of the guys saying Kaddish stand together around and behind the Bima. They wait for a certain Gabbai to give the downbeat (and he waits for the shul to be quiet, which is a seperate discussion)and then they recite it as you say, rhythmically and in unison. It is slow, especially because there are three Kaddishes at the end of Musaf in the Nusach Ashkenaz (four from Elul to Shemini Atzeret)but it has a certain drama and dignity that I find lacking when the Kaddish is haphazard.



OMG!I never noticed all that before!I think I'm go...

2007-01-08T05:53:00.000-06:00

OMG!
I never noticed all that before!
I think I'm going to have to go shul!



haven't you ever seen men in black? the aliens dis...

2007-01-07T18:12:00.000-06:00

haven't you ever seen men in black? the aliens disguise themselves as people silly!

(and beanie, what makes you say they're not?) (not bashing on chassidim at all just well...)