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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 (i.e. Gur) 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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    I have heard that this is done so that one can stay focused on the fact that he is standing in front of Hashem without losing that concentration. Although Pirush Hamilos is important, keeping in mind in front of Who you are standing is more important. By taking more time, one's mind may wander from that focus. In Ger specifically they are careful about this as I have seen myself a few times. See this article as well jewishlink.news/features/29858-emulating-greatness
    – Chatzkel
    Oct 5, 2021 at 19:20
  • Not an answer but I once heard regarding Rav Haim Soloveitchik that a student once asked him about why he prays so fast, and he responded that one is supposed to pray כמונה מעות (as if counting money) and that he counts his money quickly. Sep 7, 2022 at 23:38
  • One Chabad godol (i forget who) responded to the moshol "And what if you are already under attack? You have to spend a while ti free yourslef of the attacker"!
    – terryg
    Sep 9, 2022 at 10:24
  • Seems unfortunate to use such a negative moshel for דאַוונען. After all דאַוונען is speaking to the אײבערשטער and not escaping from a robber
    – Dude
    May 5, 2023 at 19:29

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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