Project Genesis

Prayer and Religious Articles

A Minyan

Question: What is the source for requiring ten men (a “minyan”) for certain religious services?

Answer: Ten men are required for reciting prayers in which G-d’s name is sanctified (Megillah 23b), such as the Kaddish or Kedushah. This is derived from the verse “I will be sanctified among the Children of Israel” (Lev. 22:32), and from the fact that in Gen. 42:5, Jacob’s ten sons (excluding Joseph and Benjamin) are referred to as “the Children of Israel”.

1 Follow-up »

  1. Question: Just the other day, a girlfriend and I were discussing the issue of women who complain about why a minyan is made up of men and not women. Growing up Orthodox, I never really gave it much thought, even though I am quite liberal minded. My friend, too, is quite liberal minded. However, she was confronted by a group of very pushy liberal minded women insisting on an answer to this question. Her answer was the first that I had ever heard:

    She said, as I understood: The Minyan is a tikun for the 10 shevatim [tribes] who sinned by their report upon returning from thier reconosance spying upon Eretz Yisra’el. The women were not part of it. Therefore, the women do not have to be part of something they did not partake in.

    [ok, I’m not sure if the sin was the spying, or selling of Yosef… I’m a bit confused, but I do recall that she said it was the 10 shevatim who sinned and this is their tikun]

    Have you ever heard a connection between the 10 Shevatim’s sin/tikun and the need of 10 Men for the Minyan?


    Answer: I really like that idea of your friend’s, although I have never heard it before. She is definitely correct, however, in that the minyan of 10 is linked to the spies – the number of 10 for a minyan is derived from the number of 10 spies that constituted the “assembly” [edah] of sinners.

    Comment by ATR — January 23, 2006 @ 11:09 pm

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