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My local shul in Johannesburg, South Africa is traditional with very few Yeshivah-background or even Shabbat-keeping members. They daven so fast I simply cannot keep up. Even if I skip most of Pesukei D'zimrah in order to say Yishtabach with the Shaliach Tzibur I am left a page behind by the time he starts the Amidah.

I am needed to support the minyan so I won't casually go somewhere else. How would you suggest I mitigate the speedy davening (so fast I question they are pronouncing the words) but still join my tefilah with the tzibur?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

You can come early and get a head start, this way you are holding with the Tzibbur when Shemona Esrei starts. Another option would be to slowly educate them to the beauty of Tefila, and thereby get the speed decreased.

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Two thumbs up for option A. I generally do this, but at times during the fall and winter I have to watch out not to start birchos krias shema before misheyakir. Talk to your Rav about when that is as here are different approaches. Option 2? Perhaps if you are a well liked Rabbi of the shul and institute a shulwide program with specified times for respective sections. –  YDK Sep 26 '11 at 12:14
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When this question was posed to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he answered as follows (Igerot Kodesh vol 18, letter 6583). I apologize for my translation:

נוהגים בכגון דא, להתחיל התפלה עם הצבור, ואחרי כן להתפלל כפי יכולתו, ז.א. בכוונה כפי יכולתו, ובאם מתארך תפלתו יותר מן הצבור, הרי העיקר בתפלה היא השימת לב והכוונה, ובהתחלתו ביחד עם הצבור, הרי גם בזה מעין תפלה עם הצבור, אף שכמובן רק מעין.

ולשאלתו בענין הדלוג בפסוקי דזמרה, אף שרבו המתירים בזה בכדי שתהי' התפלה בצבור, הנה נוסף על זה שיש דעות שאיסור בדבר, הנה גם המתירים אין מעלימים שמגונה הדלוג, ובפרט ע"פ המבואר בספרי קבלה ובספרי חסידות רבו מלספור, שלכן כנ"ל יעשה את מה שיש בידו, ז.א. יתחיל תפלתו עם הצבור ואחרי כן יתפלל על הסדר בפירוש המלות וכו' וכבר ידוע גודל השכר בהמכוון לבו לשמים, וק"ל.

My translation:

In such a case, start the prayer with the congregation, and afterwards pray as you are able (i.e. with the Kavanah you are able to have). Even if your prayer extends past the congregation's prayers, the most important aspect of prayer is the Simat Lev (being attentive) and the Kavanah. Starting to pray with the congregation is like praying with a minyan, even though it is only "like".

With regards to skipping parts of Pesukei Dezimrah, even though many permit this in order to pray with the congregation, in addition to the fact that there are opinions that forbid this, even the ones who permit it don't hide the fact that skipping is distasteful. this is especially true in light of the numerous explanations in Chassidus and Kabalah (about the importance of praying in order). Therefore, as previously stated, do what you can, start with the minyan and afterwards pray in order with Pirush Hamilut etc. The great reward for one who aligns his heart heavenward is already well known. This is simple.

Here the Rebbe says the same thing, even though the person he was writing to was the 10th man. The Rebbe adds that he should explain to the congregation the letter of the Ba'al HaTanya about praying at a moderate pace.

Here and here are a couple letters where the Rebbe talks a little more about why it is better not to skip Pesukei DeZimra.

All this is especially true if skipping Pesukei DeZimra doesn't help anyway, as you wrote in your question.

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+1 for a good source. Note though that (at least as far as I can tell from what I've seen of actual practice) Lubavitch practice differs widely from most people's (or, at the least, most Ashk'nazim other than chasidim) in this regard. I suspect therefore that their rabbi's stance differs from most rabbis', though I don't know. –  msh210 Oct 3 '11 at 23:13
    
The Alter Rebbe in Essay 9 of Kuntres Achron (Last Chapter of Tanya) does not mince words about congregations that daven quickly and about people who snatch up the honor of Shliach Tzibur and daven fast. –  user1292 Mar 9 '12 at 19:48
    
@mochinrechavim: that is the letter I linked to in the answer –  Menachem Mar 9 '12 at 23:30
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I would just insist that they slow down or you go elsewhere. If the Tzibbur is not fulfilling their requirement anyway, there's no need for you to sacrifice the quality of your Tefillah in or order to allow them the illusion of fulfilling theirs.

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I am needed to support the minyan so I won't casually go somewhere else.

On days that you're the tenth man, hang out outside praying slowly until you reach sh'mone esre, then join them. :-)

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