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Monday, November 12, 2007

How to Improve Our Avodas Hashem- The Chasidim Harishonim

I have been inspired to offer, in my own humble way, a little service to Klal Yisroel. To some extent, I am motivated to do this by my recent experience in davenning for the amud, since I recently became an aveil. I hope this will help others who find themselves at the amud, and even, with a little mazal, the tzibbur as a whole.

The Gemara in Nedarim (20b) says that some great tzadikkim of old were so pure and holy and so scrupulously avoided any taint of the yetzer hora, that when they engaged in marital relations, tashmish hamittah, they did it‘ke’ilu kefa’o sheid,’ unwillingly, as if they were forced by a demon. They wished they didn't have to be there, and they finished as quickly as possible, with no enjoyment and as little emotional involvement as possible. It was a burdensome duty, and certainly not something that they would dwell upon before, during, or after.

We don’t have such great tzadikkim anymore, but we do have an opportunity to emulate their holy behavior to a lesser degree, a zeicher ledavar. We can DAVEN ke'ilu ke'fao sheid! We can learn to proudly say (more or less) every word and finish shacharis in 18 minutes, sort of like a tobacco auction. The people at tobacco auctions understand what is being said, and I am sure that Hashem will understand what we are saying as well. Except for Aseres Ye’mei Tshuvah, how important is it, really, to have kavanah (see Nedarim 49 and Tosfos there d'h Ke'mahn)? And what right do you have to kvetch when there are people that need to get out and do more important things?

So, here are some suggestions.

Consecutive words that share an ending and beginning letter should be run together.

There should be no pause between different thoughts or themes. (Good example:
Shoveir oyevim umachni'a zeidim ahl hatzadikim v'ahl hachasidim.)

Don’t pause for baruch hu uvaruch shemo. (The Briskers, following the Gaon, don’t say it during chazaras hashatz anyway, so it’s good to be machmir all over.)

Come to think of it, don’t pause for the tzibbur to answer Amein either.

Take a quick deep breath before each paragraph so you can finish it ‘be’neshima achas.’

With time and practice, you can learn to vocalize during inhalation, though it might sound strange.

Don’t ever, ever use a tune. Droning really communicates how humble you are.

Don't worry about kavanah in your silent shmoneh esrei, because for the shli'ach tzibur, the shmoneh esrei you repeat out loud is the more important one (O'C 126:4).

Don't worry about kavanah in the shmone esrei you repeat out loud, because, after all, you already said a silent shmoneh esrei.

There's no need to thank me. I do this out of love; Knowing that I helped someone have a second cup of coffee, or beat rush hour, is reward enough for me.

For aspirational purposes:


Anthony said...

Keep up the good work

Chaim B. said...

i enjoyed this post... i didn't know other areas also aspired to have a "matzah" minyan (18 minutes or less)

BARZILAI said...

Thank you, anthony.

Chaim b., we may be behind New York, but we're catching up fast.