Monday, July 07, 2008

Grace By Heart

R' Gil has a very interesting post on talking during davening (prayers), a subject that is close to my heart. Read the whole thing, but I thought this little note near the end particularly interesting, in light of the consistent comments I receive from friends regarding bensching (grace after meals) about how I should use a benscher (prayer book) and not say the words by heart. [emphasis mine]
What I found interesting is that there is seemingly no concern that one person's loud prayers will disturb the concentration of everyone else. Evidently, this is not an issue. I don't know why, but it isn't. In fact, I have prayed near loud-praying people and found it very distracting. But they don't seem to be doing anything wrong halakhically.

Perhaps, if someone may pray out loud then maybe other people may talk as well. As long as those who are praying are reading from prayerbooks, then we are not concerned that they will get confused.

When I told this to a local rabbi, he insisted that people have the right to choose to pray from memory, in which case none of the above would apply.
I'd always argued that it doesn't make sense that it's somehow better to pray from a benscher; they didn't exist until more recently, anyway. It's nice to see that this was correct (though not necessarily for that reason).