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Our synagogue had for a number of years a morning minyan on Monday and Thursday and Sunday mornings. Until recent times we had members who supported these and it was no real problem. Then last year our Rabbi introduced a Wednesday morning minyan. Also we have over the last year or so lost four or five of the regular Morning minyan attenders. This means we have to bother people to attend the minyan, which often they will do but then start to resent being asked. It is getting more and more difficult to get ten men each morning as more people are refusing outright to participate. Some say we should go back to just Monday and Thursday when there are Torah readings and abandon the Wednesday morning shacharit service. We have one member who says that once you start a routine of a Wednesday Shacharit service, you can't stop it. He threatens to leave if we do, and he is a much-respected person who would be a great loss if he left to go to another synagogue. This of course is pure blackmail. Question is, is he correct.

In other words, my question is: Irrespective of our particular circumstances, generally, is there a Halacha or Minhag or whatever that says once you start a minyan in the morning of a particular day you have to keep it going and cannot stop it?

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    If you need a psak, you should ask a rabbi. We are not a rabbi. – Double AA Aug 18 '15 at 14:58
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    You may want to consider offering coffee and cake or donuts after davening. This will help motivate some of the people to attend and let them know that their attendance is greatly appreciated. I've seen this work wonders. – Yoni Dec 17 '15 at 3:53
  • By threatening to leave the synagogue if the ancient, one year-old tradition of having a Wednesday Shakharit service is discontinued, Wellrespectedman is hypocritically violating--in a certain sense--his own belief. His absence will surely help force the Wednesday minyan to end as well as contribute the possibility that no minyan will be found on Mondays and Thursdays as well. – JJLL Nov 11 '16 at 19:53
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The רמ"א in סימן נה - דיני קדיש says that people should force each other - with fines - to force everybody to come to Minyan every day so that there shouldn;t be a single day without a Minyan.

הגה: וְכֵן בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין מִנְיָן תָּמִיד בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת, כּוֹפִין זֶה אֶת זֶה בִּקְנָסוֹת שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ תָּמִיד מִנְיָן לְבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת, שֶׁלֹּא יִתְבַּטֵּל הַתָּמִיד ‏

So your Rabbi's behavior is correct and expected. Actually he should be forcing all of you to come every day.

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    What if there are other Minyanim available in the city though at different Shuls? – Double AA Feb 9 '17 at 15:58
  • @DoubleAA - I understood both the OP and the Remo referring to the only shul in town (or within reasonable walking distance, in large cities.) But I can't prove it, yet. – Danny Schoemann Feb 12 '17 at 9:53
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Since you related a scenario tied to your question, I'll try to address both the general as well as specific.

Excerpting from this article:

Davening with a minyan is not just a nice thing to do. It is an obligation upon every male (above the age of thirteen) to daven with a minyan every single day of his life.11 According to many poskim this obligation is d’rabbanan12 in nature, and is a very big mitzvah.13 The Shulchan Hatohar14 says anyone with trace of yiddishkeit should daven with a minyan. Although the Shulchan Aruch15 says one should “try” to daven with a minyan, the poskim say this does not mean to say that davening with a minyan is not an obligation.16

(I've maintained the footnotes for your xref).

So, there is some debate as to whether one is obligated to pray in a minyan at all. But, this article explains Shulchan Aruch means that it is an obligation. See also this M.Y. question and its answers. Igrot Moshe concurs that the minyan is obligatory.

Well, obviously, this assumes that there is a minyan to attend! So, it seems that where possible, and as much as possible, the shul has an obligation as well to try to have a minyan. So, in that sense, the complainer is correct, that if you've already established a minyan on certain day, the shul really should not forgo that obligation to provide that minyan continuously, since people are obligated to daven at a minyan.

Your problem, is a bit more specific, though. My understanding (and correct me if I assume wrongly) is that your shul encounters these conflicts:

  • You're not getting a daily minyan, no matter what happens.
  • These people probably don't daven at home. So, it's the shul that's getting them to daven altogether.
  • It seems that you are getting a consensus of enough people to make a minyan on Mon. and Thurs. as they realize the importance of hearing Torah reading

So, to me, it seems that the higher priority should be given to keeping the shul available to have as many minyanim as possible, and moreso, getting these people to daven altogether, if it's the shul that encourages them to do that. My inference, then, from the general joint "obligation" of a minyan is that you may have to pick and choose on this one and side with when you can have minyan the most. If it means dispensing with the Wed. minyan, you may need to do this.

This is my opinion and inference from the above article. CYLOR. Even better, I recommend that the "blackmailer" ask a rabbi about this, and have HIM post the answer on M.Y. ;-)

Postscript:

I reread your question, and you imply that there is another synagogue in your area. If that's the case, then, it's possible that none of what I said may be relevant. Can you clarify this aspect?

  • "So, there is some debate as to whether one is obligated to pray in a minyan at all." The article you quoted made it seem like there's pretty much no debate that one is obligated to daven in a minyan. – Daniel Sep 17 '15 at 19:55
  • Would you care to share the logic that you used to come to your inferences? – Daniel Sep 17 '15 at 19:57
  • @Daniel It's not logic. It's based on my own experiences having been in numerous shuls where I have seen this scenario repeatedly played out. I don't like nasty blackmailers such as this, the rabbi hates it, but his career is always on the line, and so forth. It makes a mockery of halacha, I think. – DanF Sep 18 '15 at 2:59
  • @DanF this question came to me thanks to my misreading some of the above, so please pardon the non-sequitur.... Is there an expectation that someone who only davens alone during the week will come to lapse in their prayer observance? (If the sources have interesting things to say on this, I could pose it as a proper separate question) – chrysanthemum Sep 21 '15 at 20:28
  • @chrysanthemum It's an interesting question. If you can provide some concept where you think you heard this, I think it's a worthwhile forum question. I'm unaware of any formal source that says this. From my observance, this is not universally true. I do think that the discipline of attending synagogue daily creates a strong habit and "forces" one to pray. (I am a Torah reader. That fact forces me to do the mitzvah of reading the weekly portion at least twice.) However, my grandfather, a"h, attended shul only on Shabbat, yet he prayed at home daily. So, it depends on the person's discipline. – DanF Sep 21 '15 at 20:36

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