I've had a few discussions with various co-congregants about "fast" and "slow" minyanim.

Our shul building has 2 minyanim. The main one has a professional chazzan. We begin Shabbat services at 9 am and are done between 11:30 and noon which includes approx. a 15 minute Rabbi's sermon. Most shuls in my neighborhood start at 9a and finish by 11:30, so it seems that 2.5 hours is the common service length.

In the adjoining building to our shul, they begin at 9 and are done about 10:30 including the rabbi's sermon.

People in my shul say "the other minyan davens too fast." Some others who attend other shuls in my neighborhood who end at 11:30 say that if we end at noon, we are davening too slowly.

My argument is that the speed doesn't matter, and there is no such thing as "fast" or slow" providing that the chazzan and Torah readers pronounce each word clearly and don't omit, slur or "swallow" the words. It is possible to say a "fast" Amidah yet pronounce each word quickly.

I think that I am correct in my thinking, but I'm wondering if there are any halachot or Rabbinical teshuvot that have a suggested amount of time that certain sections of the davening should take?

  • 2
    Rambam, Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:12 estimates 6 minutes for Shema and its Berachot which is about 886/360 = 2.46 words per second. He has about 581 words in his Shemoneh Esrei so that would be about 3.8 minutes for Shemoneh Esrei.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:00
  • Many Sephardic communities used to rise with the sun to go to services and be done at around 11, which could be around a 4 hour service. i haven't seen this happen here in the states yet, but i think it's all a matter of perspective. i can't go to chabad because they go too quickly, and i would doubt that many of the leaders even understood all the words they were saying
    – Aaron
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:18
  • 2
    I suspect that those who say that one minyan or another is "too fast" or "too slow" are expressing their personal opinions. Do you have any reason to believe otherwise?
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:22
  • 1
    @DoubleAA I think you should post your ref as an answer, since it suggest some quantitative measurements to gauge how long parts of davening should take.
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 18:52
  • 1
    @DanF I think it's more of a Purim Torah. Not all prayers are said with the same speed every time by every person.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


When reciting prayers, beyond saying the words clearly, one should maintain focus on the words he is saying. Different people have different preferences about this. For some, it is hard to maintain concentration for a long period of time so they prefer to say the words somewhat faster. For others, it is easier to concentrate if they slow down and take a lot of time to think about the words.

I strongly suspect that when your co-congregants say that some shul or another is davening "too fast" or "too slow," they are expressing their personal preference rather than making a halakhic statement. You can't argue with someone's opinion.

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