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If men are on the women's side of the shul during davening when there are no women there, do they count toward the minyan, or are they considered separate? Does it matter if the women's area is right next to the men's side, up on a balcony, or somewhere else?

Is it different if there are women there?

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And even if they don't count as a minyan, are they considered as having prayed with a minyan? –  jake Apr 18 '13 at 22:09
    
If the idea of a mechitza is to make a separate domain (such as R' Moshe says), or if it is just used so that the men can't see the women, might have something to do with it –  Menachem Apr 18 '13 at 22:26
    
The custom of women who need to do Kaddish is that they do it when there is a Minyan of men. So although the mechitza reduces how much men can see the women, I would guess that this common practice implies that for purposes of continuity of a Minyan being in the women's section (when no women are there) is, at least to some degree, good. –  A L Apr 19 '13 at 1:29
    
somewhat related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/27406 –  Fred Apr 19 '13 at 1:33
    
One should not really daven in the women's section because it is not counted a holy place compared to the men's section. Therefore one cannot change a part of the men's section to enlarge the women's section because one is denigrating the kedusha of it. Unless one does it in the manner one sells a shul for a non-holy use. Even if one has a minyan at home one should still daven in a shul which is a holy place. –  meir Apr 19 '13 at 10:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed says that one who prays in an area where the other congregants can not see him, however it is Tafel to the main Shul is considered as if he Davened with a Minyan, however he can only be counted in the Minyan if he is seen by the other congregants.

אבל אם תשעה בבית הכנסת ואחד מחוץ לבית הכנסת או בחדר הסמוך לבית הכנסת – אינם מצטרפים למניין. ואם זה שמחוץ לבית הכנסת עומד ליד הדלת או החלון, ומראה להם את פניו – לדעת רוב הפוסקים הוא מצטרף למניין, מפני שקשר העין שביניהם מצרפם. ואין צריך שכולם יראוהו אלא די שמקצתם יוכלו לראותו.

מי שאינו מראה את פניו למתפללים בבית הכנסת אבל הוא נמצא בחדר הטפל לבית הכנסת, אף שאינו משלים למניין, אם כבר יש מניין בלעדיו, כשהוא מתפלל עמהם הוא נחשב כמתפלל במניין

כתב במ"ב נה, נח, עפ"י הרדב"ז, שהמתפלל בחדר שהכניסה היחידה אליו היא דרך בית הכנסת, אף שאינו מראה פניו למתפללים ולכן אינו משלים מניין, מ"מ כיוון שהחדר שהוא נמצא בו טפל לחדר שמתפללים בו, הרי הוא נחשב כמתפלל במניין. ולפי"ז נלענ"ד שמי שמתפלל בעזרת נשים, אף שאינו מראה פניו ואינו משלים מניין, נחשב כמתפלל במניין, מפני שעזרת נשים טפלה לבית הכנסת, ואף שיש לה כניסה נפרדת מצד מהותה היא טפלה לביהכ"נ. אבל לכתחילה טוב להכנס לביהכ"נ, כי יש מחמירים בזה (הליכות שלמה ה, יב), ואינם משווים עזרת נשים לחדר הפנימי שדיבר בו הרדב"ז.

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Can you explain this? Can the other congregants see him or not? –  A L Apr 19 '13 at 1:33
    
@AL If the other congregants can see him then he can count towards the Minyan, if they can not see him then he can not count towards the Minyan. Either way, whether he is seen or not, it counts for him as if he Davened with a minyan. –  Gershon Gold Apr 19 '13 at 1:35
    
I'm still a bit confused. First you said that he joins in the Minyan if he's in a place where he cannot be seen yet somehow is seen. Now you're saying if he's in a place where he can be seen yet is not he joins. Those are two completely opposite statements and I recommend rewording your original answer for clarity. –  A L Apr 19 '13 at 1:43
    
@AL I think this answer is pretty clear. If he can be seen, he counts toward the minyan. If he cannot be seen, he does not count toward the minyan. Either way, it counts for him as if he davened with a minyan. –  Daniel Apr 19 '13 at 3:25
    
I remember seeing in the Rambam that we include in the minyan one who davens in a smaller room that's attached to the main room. If I find the source I'll post it here. –  Shmuel Apr 25 '13 at 2:19

Rabbi Barry Freundel recounts the story of chol hamoed minyanim when he was younger. Those who did wear tefillin and those who didn't stood on different sides of mechitza. But since there were not a minyan of either, they called for some to come across for kaddish. This suggests that they did not feel those on the other side of the mechitza were part of the minyan.

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Where did the women stand? –  Double AA Jan 27 at 1:14
    
Given that this was a chol hamoed morning (and a number of years ago), I would be entirely unsurprised if no women attended that minyan. Is there some reason that you think this isn't the obvious assumption, @DoubleAA? –  Ze'ev Felsen Feb 9 at 1:56

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