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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 19:44:43 -0500 (EST) Subject: An Actuarial Analysis of The time it takes to pray In MJ10, Sheri and Seth Kaddish cite David Rozensweig and discuss how long it "should" take to daven. A very simple analysis based on firm halachik precedent was made by me in the Email Group,HebLang (on Shamash)last year. The analysis is consistent with research on effective speech speeds in the business world and research on typing speeds. Allow me to redevelop the argument for the situation at hand (As well as cite my own personal studies) >>Ideally you should start Kriath Shma at the beginning of sunrise and >>finish it at the completion of sunrise--this takes about 6 minutes >>[Rambam, Shma 1: 11]. Thus we have that an "expected time to say Kriath Shma" is 6 minutes. This turns out to be about 2.1 words per second which is the same figure recommended for good business presentations. For those interested in "CONCENTRATION-CAVANNAH"--the typing literature points out that typing speed increases when you start to "type phrases" vs "individual words or letters". A similar practice can be advocated in prayer---pray in phrases..do not pause on each word. This has signficant implications for Cavannah...if you pause on each word you can't really concentrate so that praying too slow and praying too fast are both bad!! For those wishing to do their own counting a simple (effective) estimation trick is to count words per line and muliply by the number of lines. As a final application the Bible has 100,000 words in 6,000 verses---which suggests 8 seconds per verse during laining (using 2.1 words per second). Now for some personal studies: I have timed Kriath Shmah and laining in many shules (most people are unaware that the average seconds per posook is relatively stable for each Ba'al Koray and similarly the time to say Kriath Shmah and its blessings remains the same in most shules.) I have found Kriath Shmah normally takes 4-6 minutes. Similarly I have found most Ba'alay Kriah take 6-12 seconds per posook (8-10 seems normal). RECOMMENDATIONS: Let Kriath Shmah take 6 minutes and Shmoneh Esray 4 minutes. This is the main part of davening. A congregation can just say Bracoth or let korbanoth be said individually. Rush thru PSookay Dzimrah at 70% of the recommended rate and take 10 minutes. This leaves 5 minutes for Kadishes tachnun etc. Thus you can still daven in 30 minutes but SAY the important things with FULL cavannah and be fully compliant with halachah. (Please don't misunderstand me--if you can find 10 people on a weekday who want to daven uniformly at 2.1 words per second (50 minutes for davening)--fine; but if you can't the above is halachically kosher and will give full cavanah) Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA Rhendel @ mcs drexel edu