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Is it better to daven with 5 people instead of 2, even though you won't have a minyan anyways?

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The Torah teaches us, that there is no comparison between a few who fulfill the Torah, and many who fulfill the Torah [Rashi, Vayikra 26:8].

אֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה מֻעֲטִין הָעוֹשִׂים אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, לִמְרֻבִּין הָעוֹשִׂין אֶת הַתּוֹרָה

The sefer "Chayei Adam" (68:11) interprets this as a directive, that one should strive to perform mitzvos as a group, בחבורה, rather than performing the mitzvah alone by himself.

כל מצוה שיוכל לעשות בחבורה, יעשה בחבורה, ולא ביחיד, כדכתיב "ברב עם הדרת מלך" (כדאיתא בפסחים ס"ד, וביומא ע'). ואמרו חז"ל, אינו דומה מרובים העושים מצוה למיעוט שעושים.

Based on this teaching; even though Kaddish and Kedushah can’t be recited, and it's not considered "Tefillah B'tzibur", nonetheless, there's still a special benefit in praying together, as a larger small group, rather than praying alone or with one other person.

The more, the merrier!

Also see discussion by Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, in “Shut Teshuvos Ve’Hanhagos” (vol. 2, No. 57).

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  • This is not an good summary of the Chayei Adam. His primary source is from "Berov Am", and for good reason since this Midrash doesn't actually say anything about proximity nor anything about doing mitzvot as a group. It's about the power of a group of people who generally keep mitzvot. The goal should be to be in large crowds! The Chayei Adam is speaking בלשון מליצה making a "drash" on the midrash. Even he would never call this midrash a "directive". Why would you frame your answer around the least relevant source? There are such better sources to grapple with (Brachot 53, OC 8:5, 183:7)
    – Double AA
    May 26 at 21:43
  • Anyway, you haven't established that davening near each other is considered doing a mitzva as a group which is debatable
    – Double AA
    May 26 at 22:42
  • Another issue: fine, one must (?) be with a group, but where do we see from here that a larger still small group is better? There are sources for that, I think, but they have yet to be presented.
    – Mordechai
    May 27 at 19:39
  • @Mordechai More and less, are always relative. For example, 3 is more than 1, but is less than 7. So if Chazal say a blanket statement, that אֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה מֻעֲטִין הָעוֹשִׂים אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, לִמְרֻבִּין הָעוֹשִׂין אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, then “less” can never have equal standing with “more”, and any time there’s “more”, that will always be better than “less”. So, the more, the merrier! May 27 at 22:10
  • As much as there is a question, to that extent I feel the answer is lacking. Maybe the rule applies in this case, maybe not; the rule was already assumed by the question.
    – Mordechai
    May 29 at 21:28

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