Long tachanun

I find the long tachanun on Monday and Thursday to be very difficult to focus on, and many shuls rush through it. Is it okay to say the shorter version that we say on other days?

Tachnun is one of the most beautiful gifts Hazal gave us and it is one that unfortunately gets neglected or as you mentioned “rushed” through. I was once by the bima near where the Rav was standing when someone announced a simcha and therefore no tachnun was said. I said “yes!” and the Rabbi gave me a very stern look. He later told me that one should be sad when no tachnun is said because you now have “lost out” on the opportunity to ask Hashem for forgiveness b’tzibur. Since then, I have come to appreciate this gift much more. Its a gift to be able to say “Im sorry.”

That being said, do your best. The Shulchan Auruch speaks in strong words about the importance of saying the extra tachnun on Monday and Thursday and not to skip it. Of course, your heart and what you are able to concentrate on is the most important thing. So maybe after finishing the regular Tachnun, say the paragraph of “Vehu Rachum” and see how far you get. Hatzlacha!

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thank you for the very thoughtful response