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Minyan Counting

In counting a minyan, one is not supposed to “count” the people. So, custom says, count “not one, not two…” What is the tradition of reciting the ten words of Torah? What verse is recited?

As you correctly point out, one may not count individuals, even for the purpose of determining a minyan. Instead, as you correctly point out, the custom has developed to recite a verse from Tanach which contains 10 words, “counting” one word per person. This custom is rather ancient, dating back at least as far as Rav Hai Gaon (10th century).

There are two verses traditionally used (but there is nothing wrong with using any verse with 10 words):

Psalms 28:9
Psalms 5:8

Be well,
Rabbi Yoel Spotts

Also see this post

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