Why on earth does shabbos davening take 3 hours?

People were literally freaking out yesterday, you see, the regular old Modern Orthodox shul in San Francisco ended shabbos morning davening at 11:15 instead of the MO regulation time of 12pm. It seemed that the opinion swayed toward “what’s the rush” rather than “yay, we can finally have a good long shabbos shluff“. I have mixed feelings because I like to show up late enough to catch shemona esrei with a minyan without having to sit through a 3 hour davening and if they start finishing earlier I miss the important parts of davening while I’m catching up to the minyan.

In yeshiva we started at 8:30 and ended at 10 or 10:15, yet somehow it has become minhag modernishe yisroel to take at least 3 hours forshachris on shabbos. How did this happen? It’s not like the singing at modernishe shuls is extra leibedicke, it tends to have less feeling than most frummer shuls, could it be that the Rabbi takes an extra long time davening and the chazzan has to wait for him? Nope, that’s definitely not the case – I’m not implying  Chas V’shalom that the modern orthodox nusach is lacking in kavannah (not sure if you can have proper kavannayh with a MO mechitza) but the long davening is not because of yiras shamyim, it’s more because of the extra things said that many shuls that have shorter davenings don’t say.

For instance, many shuls don’t say Anim Zemiros (The helige Vilna Gaon is probably puking in his mouth every time some MO kid gets up at the bimah to say this holiest or holy prayers) In thbe more modern shuls you may have noticed that the kids take forever because the only time they daven all week is when they say Eun Kolokeinu. The you have those darned Israel/American goyishe blessing prayers.

Then in a lot of MO shuls the have a half hour worth of announcements, explanations of that weeks sedra and yertzeit dealings. It all takes up a lot of time and adds a lot of filler to make the 99% that only show up once a week (usually around musaf time) feel like they are getting something substantial for their membership fee. I mean, it all comes down to the money in my mind. If I were some once a week attendee and the service was significantly shortened I’d feel like I was getting jacked.

Was it like this 30 years ago? Did the service at Modern Orthodox shuls always take that long on shabbos morning? I wonder what the old timers have to say about this? I know that people seemed genuinely disturbed yesterday. I can also tell you that it made all the folks who only show up for musaf look a little out of place, there were quite a few of them. I heard that folks who showed up a half hour late were really pissed, but they did show up late after all – so I wonder if they have the right to say anything. I showed up at what I thought would be before laining and it was almost finished, at least it didn’t look like I only came for the kiddush. In San Francisco you can’t exactly just show up for kiddush, it’s not like the Upper West Side where shul/kiddush hopping is acceptable.

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