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Is it better to Daven [pray] with a earlier large minyan or better to wait to daven later with a much smaller minyan where I will be needed as the tenth?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Ken, great point.

There's some discussion about if you choose between doing a mitzvah in an "okay" way sooner, vs. a "better" way later. (E.g. we wait till Saturday night for Kiddush Levana so we're in a more spiritual mood when we say it, having just gone through Shabbos; even though earliest time for Kiddush Levana may have been a few days earlier.)

Classically in Halacha it's considered "davening better" when doing it with a larger crowd, but that assumes the later people will still have their minyan. I agree, if you can daven earlier and then attend later, that's ideal.

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This sort of response is better expressed as a comment on the answer it's responding to. – Isaac Moses Dec 14 '09 at 15:19
    
Courtesy of rechovot.blogspot.com, Igrot Moshe OC 2:46 says that if multiple small synagogues currently exist, the convenience of different locations means that some people who would otherwise have prayed at home are no praying with a minyan. And this beats out the large-crowd preference if you were to merge the synagogues. – Shalom Jan 12 '10 at 22:58
    
Similarly, we delay reciting kiddush l'vanah until we are dressed nicely, clouds are gone, etc. – Adam Mosheh May 9 '14 at 22:38

I was always led to believe you never pass up a chance to do a mitzvah. Guess I would daven with the earlier minyan, but also go to the later one and just be there as a tenth just answering "amen" so any person needing to say kaddish would still be able to.

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5  
That's admirably altruistic of you. – Isaac Moses Dec 14 '09 at 15:17

The Mishnah Berurah says to boycott minyanim that will not be up to K"S (or tefillas shacharis) before sof zman. I believe that he was also talking about shabbos minyanim that start at 9am as well if sof zman is early!

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I believe you are misreading the MB. Can you edit in a source so I can tell for sure? – Double AA Dec 2 '11 at 6:48
    
I don't recall the mareh makom, sorry. I have to admit that it's been a while since I've done chazara on MB – Adam Mosheh Dec 2 '11 at 6:51
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I see you are relatively new to Judaism.SE so first of all, Welcome! Two pointers: 1 Since this is a public site, try to minimize the use of 'jargon' such as hebrew terms. Try and translate as much as possible so that anyone can follow along. 2 Again since our online personas don't carry any weight in terms of knowledge to others, it is essential to cite sources whenever possible so that others can use your information. I look forward to seeing you around! – Double AA Dec 2 '11 at 6:58
    
It looks like Adam may be referring to MB 46:32. My translation: "If he is afraid that the congregation will delay even past the time when the blessings for Shema may be said [i.e., 4 hours into the day], he should not wait for them at all, since because of them he will miss out on the blessings, as well as on the time of tefillah [Shemoneh Esrei], which is also - ideally - up to four hours... He should rather recite [Shema] at its time, with its blessings, and pray [Shemoneh Esrei] alone." – Alex Dec 2 '11 at 17:35
    
@Alex That quote certainly does not prohibit 9am shacharits. Adam seemed to be saying that even if the tzibbur will miss sof zman kriat shema one should daven beyichidut before hand. Your quote relates to sof zman tefillah. – Double AA Dec 5 '11 at 0:18

This is a quotation from an an excellent article on the subject found at the OU Kosher web site.

The idea from Rav Auerbach seems to be that making the minyan takes precedent.

Sometimes halachah dictates missing tefillah betzibbur. If one arrives late to shul and realizes that by starting Shemoneh Esrei of Minchah he will not finish in time for Kedushah, he should not start (SA, OC 109:1; MB 109:2). However, if one is a “slow davener” and regularly does not finish Shemoneh Esrei in time for Kedushah, many authorities advise that he start Shemoneh Esrei with the congregation—thereby benefiting from tefillah betzibbur—and daven at his usual relaxed pace, even though it will mean missing Kedushah (Ishei Yisrael 33:4 and note 25).

Other priorities sometimes overshadow tefillah betzibbur. Even though six daveners and four others who have already davened constitute a minyan (and can therefore respond to Kedushah, et cetera) but are not eligible for tefillah betzibbur, Rav Auerbach rules that one should still be part of those six and help make a minyan even if he thereby forfeits having tefillah betzibbur elsewhere (Halichot Shlomo 5:8). Similarly, he rules that a group of frum soldiers should forfeit tefillah betzibbur on Rosh Hashanah in order to spread out to other bases to blow the shofar for those who would otherwise not fulfill this mitzvah (ibid., note 28). He also rules that a soldier who has guard duty on Shabbat should not switch it so that he could daven with a minyan if by doing so his replacement will violate Shabbat (ibid., 5:6). In other words, certain mitzvot, like strengthening a “weak” minyan, blowing shofar for others and preventing another person’s desecration of Shabbat override tefillah betzibbur.

The Mishnah Berurah (236:14) rules that it is better to daven Minchah privately rather than do so with a minyan after sunset.[14] In a similar vein, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, following his grandfather, rules that it is preferable to daven privately rather than do so with a minyan that recites Shema and its berachot after the proper time.[15]

Tzarich Iyun: Davening with a minyan

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