Monday, March 02, 2020

Davvening decisions

[Davening decisions. Whatever.  Transliteration is often a case of guesswork.]

I should have blogged about this right after the Hadar National Shabbaton, but better late than never.

My husband and I and another Shabbaton attendee took the hotel shuttle bus to the train station together, and on the way, she and I commiserated with one another about being slow daveners/pray-ers in a speed-daveners' world.  It turns out that her approach to davening/ is much like mine was about 10 years ago.  (See Near tears at morning minyan.)  At that time, I was as strict as she is about saying all the required words despite being far behind everyone else, while responding "amen," when it's permissible, to the prayers of those ahead of me.   Now, I take just about the opposite approach.  I've concluded that, since I rarely have the opportunity to pray a weekday service with a minyan, it's more important for me to try to keep up with the minyan than to say every word.  So I try to follow some semblance of Sephardi (Sefardi?) tradition, in which the baal tefillah (prayer leader) leads the entire service and the congregants fulfill their prayer obligation by responding "amen" to each b'rachah (blessing).  Nowadays, I just pray as much of a b'rachah (blessing) as I can, but stop when the baal/baalat tefillah approaches the chatimah shel b'rachah ("seal" of the blessing), say "amen," and assume that I've fulfilled my chiyuv (obligation).  There are only two sections of the service that I never skip no matter how far behind I am:  I always say all three paragraphs of Sh'ma and the entire Amidah.  As for the rest, I can daven every word when I'm praying bi-y'chidut (alone) at home.


See also: Learning the hard way, or learning from the inside out: An Am HaAretz teaches herself to pray 




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