Rav Avigdor Miller on Coming to Shul Three Hours Early

In פסוקי דזמרה in the morning, there are so many selections from Tehillim, and the Rav has told us that every word is a gem of ‘דעת ה, awareness of Hashem, and an opportunity for perfection of the mind (see the Rav’s sefer on תפילה, Praise My Soul). But can one really concentrate on so many verses and so many different thoughts?

Certainly not. And therefore, you should not even make an effort to say everything. Just to rattle off words, and not gain any דעת. It’s worthless. It’s not completely worthless, but it’s just about worthless.

Instead, take your time. טוב מעט בכוונה מהרבה שלא בכוונה – “Better to do a small amount with concentration, than to do a lot without concentration” (Shulchan Aruch 1:4). Say a little, but think about what you’re saying. Study the words and understand what you’re saying – that’s the real achievement in davening. Now, of course, if you have a great deal of time, you can start davening three hours before the tzibbur, and you’ll be able to do justice to a good part of the פסוקי דזמרה. But whatever it is, you should spend time using your head in davening, not just your lips.

TAPE # 488