Our Toronto beit midrash is housed in the Clanton Park shul, which davens a nusach that varies from my own.
[There are different versions - nuschaot - of traditional prayer, most popularly Nusach Ashkenaz, Sfard and Nusach Ari. The variations between them do not touch fundamental biblical obligations, but they do include variant texts of berachot, changes in the order of the introductory “psukei d'zimra” davening and the concluding parts of davening, and a couple of elements which exist in one version and not another.]
I enjoy aspects of using this new nusach. Saying “ויצמח פורקניה ויקרב משיחיה (May His redemption sprout forth, and may His messiah come soon)” in kaddish is a big plus for me, as is the Keter version of kedushah.
But I am having trouble with tachanun. Specifically, I am having trouble with viduy and with the yud-gimel midot harachamim [13 attributes of Divine mercy].
After the morning amidah, everyone immediately launches into viduy – Ashamnu, Bagadnu, Gazalnu – the paragraph of prayer with which we acknowledge our sins and apologize for them. But everyone says it so quickly! I'm used to saying this paragraph on fast days, and in the period leading up to Yom Kippur. I'm used to adding my personal foibles and contemplating each word, thinking through the things that I have done wrong or that I have not done right, but all around me people are klopping ashamnubagadnugazalnu and they're on the next paragraph before I've gotten anywhere. [I'm not the only one; I was in a meeting with a leading Toronto posek last week, and he complained about the same thing.]
Then, after speedreading viduy, they invoke the 13 attributes of Divine mercy that HaShem taught Moshe (Sh'mot 33). I can't keep up with that recitation, either; these represent the most intimate words uttered by HaShem to Moshe, פה אל פה, directly, a formula to be invoked when seeking Divine mercy throughout the generations – and I'm going to treat them like the fine-print legalese at the end of a car commercial?
I know that the people around me, who have been reciting these paragraphs daily for all of their halachic lives, are able to concentrate on them more concisely than I can. But I can't do it. Certainly, I could say the words as quickly as they do – but what would be the point?
So for now, I'll stand silently and wait while they say these tefillot. And I'll look forward to kaddish, and answering Amen to ויצמח פורקניה ויקרב משיחיה.