I’ve found that as I become more familiar with the text of the siddur, I tend to read the prayers too fast and slur the words together. (I’m still a long way from typical minyan speed, though.)
It occurred to me that practicing davening with a metronome (mechanical, digital, whatever) on weekdays might help me maintain a steady but reasonable pace.
Has anyone ever tried this?
I have never tried this, but it sounds brilliant.
Unless you are the shaliach tzibbur you have no obligation to daven at the tzibbor’s pace or to take a certain amount of time. Rav Chaim Soloveichik was known for daven “quickly”. On the other hand, many rabbanim daven “slowly” and have standing instructions not to wait for them so as not to inconvenience the rest. Speak to Hashem like you would speak to a king or other important person (think of a job interviewer).
Avi, at certain points in davening you’re supposed to be at pace with the shliach tzibbur in order for you to be considered to be davening with the minyan.
If you want to daven faster, use a fast metronome.
After almost three weeks of using a metronome occasionally, my impression is that it definitely helps me maintain a steady pace in davening.
I have it set to 60 beats/minute. I try to make the accented syllables coincide with the metronome’s beeps a couple times in each phrase. If I notice that I’m speeding up or slowing down, the metronome reminds me to adjust the pace.
And what does the fellow sitting next to you in shul think of the constant metronome hocking?
I’ve only used the metronome when davening at home.
However, it has an earphone jack, so I suppose I could use it in shul too. Except that people would probably think I’m listening to an MP player or something.
“:Speak to Hashem like you would speak to a king or other important person”
If the purpose of tefillah is to engage with the Ebeshter, than there are times where you would speak slowly and pause to consider your thoughts and at other times, speak excitedly and more quickly. It would seem a metronome could make it more likely that your davening would be more mechanical and less from the heart and with less kavanah.
I find that I think more clearly with a rhythmic background sound.
Joseph, please cite the places along with sources. As for the metronome, there is another issue – the noise it makes could very well disturb other daveners.
For those saying kaddish, perhaps a metronome would help them stay in sync. OTOH, some people have no sense of rhythm, so it might not work.