Tircha D’tzibbura (Long Davening)

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    Pashuteh Yid
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    While I went to a very warm shul for RH davening, with a wonderful Rov, I found that it was on the long side, although there are other shuls and yeshivas which are quite a bit longer. The davening took 6 hours including a 1/2 hour break. I am wondering where the inyan of very long davenings came into being.

    We know that the gemara strictly limits a yontof daveing to 5 aliyos, so as not to strain the kahal. Yet an aliyah takes 5 minutes. Now we are adding on hours onto the regular davening. Even without skipping any piyutim, I think a baal tefilah could do the davening in 3.5 hours without rushing people, and still have time for some niggunim.

    While kavanah is important, I am not sure there is any correlation between the time and the kavanah. Do an experiment, read an article on YW at your normal speed. Now read it 5 times slower. You will not understand it any better, nor will anybody you read it to understand it any better if you read it to him 5 times slower than your normal speaking rate. If anything, it will have the opposite effect, and get the listener bored and annoyed. Try it, don’t take my word for it.

    Why does kavanah need to be linked to very slow davening? The extra time prevents people from learning and from being with their families. For young kids in 5th-6th grades, it is absolute torture to sit still for 6 hours.

    The gemara tells stories of tannaim and amoraim who attended shiurim, and also went on trips and visits to their rebbeim even on Yom Kippur.

    I do not favor rushing people, just for chazzanim not to dwell on a single word in chazaras hashas for extended periods of time. They do this even when there is no niggun that calls for it. You can tell from looking at the faces of many people that they are plotzing and getting quite annoyed, and that this does not enhance their davening or kavanah, but actually has the opposite effect.

    Any thoughts? Does the YW crowd believe that there is a link between slowness and kavanah?

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