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In some Chassidic circles davening fast is known to be somewhat of a minhag. Sometimes this is only in regards to a specific tefillah. For example:

  1. In some of the Polish chassidic courts an emphasis is put on davening fast. A known Mashal is told as explanation - when traveling through a dark forest at night one travels as fast as possible so that robbers don't have an easy time attacking. The Nimshal - Daven fast and you will be able to focus/have kavannah on the words without having unrelated thoughts to davening.
  2. Mincha on Shabbes and especially on Yom Kippur many chassidic courts daven fast as Mincha is a time of Din.

Are there any written sources for this minhag?

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    We all know there are Sefardim who pray "fast" and Ashkenazim who pray "slow" so are these stereotypes really necessary?
    – Double AA
    Oct 5, 2021 at 20:24
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    @Aaron Providing anecdotes facially supporting the racism isn't a justification.
    – Double AA
    Oct 5, 2021 at 20:40
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    There are so many different types of Ashkenazi shuls that it's hard to generalize. I've davened in many such shuls that daven exceedingly slowly, including Hasidic.
    – Jay
    Oct 5, 2021 at 21:46
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    come on are we still propagating this old stereotype? i think we've all been to slow ashkenazi minyanim and comparatively fast sefardi minyanim and vice versa, i honestly don't know where this myth comes from it has everything to do with the preferences of the kehillah
    – ezra
    Oct 5, 2021 at 22:02
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    @Aaron "Many Ashkenazi synagogues I know spend a lot of time choosing people to lead sections of service based on their speed" Say what? Never heard of such a thing.
    – MichoelR
    Oct 6, 2021 at 15:41

1 Answer 1

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This is probably a side effect to Ashkenazim having the custom of the Shaliach Tzibbur (the communal reader) not reading all the prayers out loud. People tend to read faster in their heads than when they are reciting out loud, so having so many prayers read "silently" by the prayer leader and the congregation would make the prayers go faster. From there I think it would kind of become a loop in which speed becomes an integral part of the loop.

Contrast this to Yemenites and Sepharadim who read many more of the prayers out loud. Sure someone could try reading them faster, but their speed will always be limited by the fact it takes longer to say something than to read something.

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    Which posek allows prayers to be said silently?
    – user17319
    Oct 6, 2021 at 2:07
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    I guess he means, as opposed to the shaliach tzibbur saying them out loud. I too have noted that I can often "catch up" in the parts of davening (shochein ad, yotzer or, tehilos l'kel elyon...) when the shaliach tzibbur speaks more often.
    – MichoelR
    Oct 6, 2021 at 15:40
  • @MichoelR yes this is what I mean
    – Aaron
    Oct 6, 2021 at 17:35

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