How Fast Do You Daven?


rabbi-gershon-tannenbaumBy Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum

An interesting exchange over the past few weeks in the Letters to the Editor section of Der Blatt, a popular chassidishe Yiddish weekly, addresses the problem of a weekday shaliach tzibbur pressured by some who daven with him to speed up the service.

(We all know the story of the ba’al tokeah who, assigned to sound the shofar only at the end of Yom Kippur, complained to the gentile magistrate that he was unfairly being denied the privilege of blowing shofar on Rosh Hashanah. The magistrate responded that on Yom Kippur, once he had the podium, he should disregard everything and blow the shofar for as long as he desired.)

Plainly, a shaliach tzibbur is the prayer leader of his immediate congregation and must be sensitive to their inclinations. Nevertheless, individuals in the congregation sometimes seek to accelerate the shaliach tzibbur’s davening so that they can get to work sooner, or get to drink the yahrzeit l’chaim faster, or get to begin a Daf Yomi shiur quicker. At times, a shaliach tzibbur who is a chiyuv simply cannot daven as quickly as some in the congregation might want, causing malevolent feelings.

A letter from a reader in London suggested, among other ideas, that a universal schedule of minimum or proposed timing be developed and that rabbis from all over the world sign onto it, thus creating a universal takanah. He went on to suggest that every amud (podium) have a digital clock and the schedule posted, as is usually found at netz hachama minyanim. If a minyan is organized to daven at a slower pace, such information should be posted so that an occasional davener would have no possible complaint.

{Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum/}


  1. some of us dont have an hour to daven in the morning we arent independently wealthy and dont have other people paying our bills so we cant risk being late for work. some people don’t think of others which as a frum yid should be the first thing on their mind. its not just shachris what about 25 min. marrive do people think maybe someone here hasn’t seen there kids or wife yet today and would like to.

  2. Why don’t you leave these issues to the Rav?
    Isn’t that his job to determine?
    Why do we need universal takanos when we have local Rabbis?

  3. Yes please Cant wait to see that new Takana. but once were at it can we also get them to sign what kind of Lekach to be served. I like cheese cake i would hire a lobbying firm

  4. Some sheluchei tzibbur say chazoras hashatz so fast that they mispronounce the words or leave some out entirely. The shatz should repeat as fast as he can and still enunciate clearly. Obviously this varies from person to person. Another issue is the shatz davening a long shtille shemonah esrei or a long krias shema while the tzibbur waits for him to finish. This is called being a tzadik on other folk’s cheshbon.

  5. #5…if you truly wanted to go to work on time and run home to your wife and children…trust me….you have choices to make. If davening with kavana had a high priority with you, you would get up, let’s say…10 to 15 minutes earlier so that you can do that. I’m reading the comments here, and as with everything else in our lives, we make time for the things that are important to us.There is a famous saying in English:”if you want something, ask the busy man”.Apply it as you wish.

  6. #5 Has a point – some of us don’t have the luxury of davening slowly – especially Shacharis, now that Netz/sunrise is so late.
    A universal Takanah would be interesting to see – we can’t seem to get everyone to agree on ANYTHING! 😉

  7. There is a responsibility for the shaliach tzibur to davan according to minhag of the minyan. That is brought down by several poskim. It is a inyan of not being matriach the tzibur. If he cannot, he doesn’t have to daven the whole tefila but can do ashrei uvaletzion.

  8. dear matzav editor, i think this article was written very unclear. the idea the writer mentioned is something very simple which i myself saw in the big satmar shul in K.J. just last week. it goes like this: among the regular list of hourly minyanim shachris there one minyan that sticks out, which says – Brachos: 8:00am in shtibel #… “this minyan is designed for ppl who daven slower” thats the whole idea. if you want a faster minyan just daven at another shtibel. simple no?

  9. #15 You took the words out of my mouth, or hand 🙂

    I’m not talking about a visikin Minyan, I’m talking about a regular first Minyan that their is in most shuls that have a minyan every half hour.
    Usaly these first minyanim are for people that are in a rush to work, If you never had to be in an office or roll up a store front at 7am you don’t know what this means. Some people live like that for years. I Daven with the first Minyan and I go home to help my wife and kids get ready for school. Then you have people that used to Daven with that minyan because they rushed to work, now they Daven with that Minyan because can’t sleep.
    I think it’s not right for some one that davens very slow to be shliach tzibur only if the steady mispalalim agree. But if this Minyan need to be out by 7. then let him find another place.

  10. As mentioned above If one gave some thought as to why he is davening one may come to the conclusion that the extra 10 min or so needed to daven like a mentsch is worth beyond what can be described.
    Go to sleep 10 min earlier and wake up earlier.
    Keep in mind the length depends on if it is with Korbonso or not, Tachnun or not, Leining or not etc.

    The basic davening length should be from Hodu until after Shemonei esrei.
    35 minutes until after repeated ( recited out loud ) Shmonei Esrei is a very decent speed.Very Fast would be to shave off 4 min off of Pesukei Dezimra and another 5 minutes off of the rest.Doing it in 26 min instead of 35 min, which is way to fast to say the words and of course to think of what one is saying is fooling oneself.
    Is it not worth 9 min extra when davening to Hashem which is why we get up in the first place??
    After Shemonei Esrei is all basiclly the same since if the davening is too fast one can take his time and finish a drop later vs before shemonei esrei when one can lose davening B’tzibbir and Kiddusha etc.

    A universal Tekunah does not seem to be able to work as some people are davening faster or slower for years and will not change very fast. More doable is as someone mentioned to post the davening schedule for each minyan so you know what to expect and a Bal tefillah that’s nervous will not zoom through the davening and leave the minyan in the dust!

  11. you know ill share this with all the people who revealed enough personal information that seems that they could reboost some of their personal life in general. First of all, i think the majority at large needs to revisit the concept of tefillah at core, what it means exactly. It is an exercise not a reading contest. To go back and forth about this topic attaching it to work is so silly based on a 10-15 minute difference in time that could disintegrate almost every comment here. You want to know: wait what about work?? first lets finish talking about davening. David hamelech described himself as one thing when he could of said he’s a king, the great singer of israel etc. he said “Vaani Tefillah” = I AM PRAYER, not I PRAY. This is not even an introduction really- you can’t change what you want by trying to read faster and even understand the words at the same time, thats for first graders. People need to keep life in order and remember whats primary or more important will ALWAYS be primary and more important- everything else is just an extension or application/expression or unfolding if you like of that thing. This should be self explanatory at this point.

    To study more about this topic or subject in depth please visit and click the shiur on prayer from Rabbi Akiva Tatz and than see what it means to be a real ‘black belt’.

    Oh and about the part now about work: Ein od Milvado.