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How many people are needed in order to start chazaras hashatz?

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As many people that finish before the rabbi of the shul finishes :) –  avi Dec 27 '11 at 11:08
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2 Answers

The opinion of the Shulchan Aruch, Orah Haim, Siman 124, S'if 4 is that 9 men answering is required, but the Mishnah Berurah (S'if Katan 19) brings down from Magen Avraham and the Maharil (Ashkenazic authorities) that the common custom is to use even those who are not listening to complete the minyan (which would mean 6 listening and 3 not listening). The Mishnah B'rurah suggests the Shaliah Tzibbur make a condition that if there are not 9 listening it should be a T'filas N'davah in order to take the Bais Yosef's opinion into consideration. This would imply that one should wait until there are 9 men who can respond, but Rav Feurst told me that Reb Moshe Feinstein told him that 6 men was enough (of course all of this is provided that there are a total of ten men there).

http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14170&st=&pgnum=294&hilite=

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On the other hand, Shulchan Aruch Harav (even though he often follows Magen Avraham) does not do so in this case: he states flatly (55:7 and 124:6) that there must be nine men listening and responding Amen. –  Alex May 5 '10 at 22:01
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Yes, the Rav's Shulhan Aruch and the Hayei Adam are in agreement on this. Every Shul should follow its Rav and Mesorah. –  Yahu May 5 '10 at 23:02
    
That last sentence is of course true, and I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. I wonder, though, given that both of these sources seem to (uncharacteristically) ignore the M"A and Maharil, whether indeed the Mishnah Berurah really means that he endorses this position, or whether he's just using it as a limud zechus. –  Alex May 6 '10 at 5:19
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There need to be at least nine men who are able to answer Amen to his blessings (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 124:4).

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Is there any legitimate reason behind those people who only wait for seven? –  Tzvi May 4 '10 at 12:09
    
There have to have been at least 6 people who prayed the silent Amidah together (the other four can just be bystanders). But no, I don't know a source that says that just seven responders is enough. –  Alex May 4 '10 at 18:15
    
Tzvi, see my answer. The number seven is the Shaliah Tzibbur plus 6 who will answer based on the Magen Avraham and the Maharil. –  Yahu May 5 '10 at 20:37
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See Orach Chaim 55:6 and Magen Avraham ibid. :8 citing Ralbach. This is in turn cited in Shulchan Aruch Harav 55:7. –  Alex May 5 '10 at 21:58
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@HodofHod, that diyuk certainly escaped me. You're right, they have to actually answer. –  Alex Feb 7 '12 at 5:27
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