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If a minyan is needed and can't easily be found, is it OK to pay Jews to attend, who would not come otherwise? And is a negotiation on the price seemly?

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  • I have myself accepted money to attend a minyan that wouldn't otherwise have occurred. These were mostly over Shabbat or a holiday. I recall a story as well of a rabbi in Israel calling taxis to come to the shul, and when they arrived telling the drivers "run the meter. Stay here & daven & I will pay afterwards". The drivers there didn't accept money, but it was clearly offered. Nov 18 '19 at 19:23
  • I don't doubt that it's done. I am just wondering if it's halachically sanctioned. Nov 18 '19 at 19:58
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    The mishnah and the gemara call these people Batlanim, people paid to attend Mynianim
    – Eli83
    Nov 18 '19 at 20:05
  • Does that mean the Talmud sanctions it or rejects it? Reference? Nov 18 '19 at 20:13
  • I read jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2664-batlanim, which provides references. These apparently did more than just attend services -- they were paid for general community service. Nov 18 '19 at 20:21
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Several shuls in my neighborhood have been doing this for a while. I implicitly trust rabbis' halachic decisions, unless there's a strong compelling reason not to. I feel no need to inquire of my rabbi's reasoning as to why it is permissible, especially if he has been doing it for a few years. So, if you're willing to trust my rav on at least half the level as I do, then, yes, it's permissible.

As I know the nature of at least one person who attends this minyan and is paid (happens to be my son), it seems that negotiating the price is also permissible.

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    We don't know who your rabbi is so I don't know how we could trust him.
    – Daniel
    Nov 18 '19 at 21:48
  • Is the logic explained anywhere? Nov 18 '19 at 22:24
  • I have heard it’s ok. But it was once joked that soon there will be people being paid to sit shiva on someone else’s behalf. Dec 18 '19 at 23:59
  • @Daniel It's a given that all rabbis are automatically trustworthy, unless you or someone else has a valid reason to prove otherwise. The lack of this trust is what has consistently caused the demise of numerous Jewish communities. It would be meritorious if you and all readers would give every rabbi, regardless of your own personal knowledge of the person, benefit of doubt. Let's focus the doubt on the topic of the reasoning, not the rabbi, himself. Sound fair?
    – DanF
    Dec 20 '19 at 18:00
  • @DanielRoss Not much of a joke. I think some people have been doing this for a while. Mainly among Reform and Conservative.
    – DanF
    Dec 20 '19 at 18:06

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