I was sitting one day when someone called to to come and be the tenth person. I quickly ran to be the tenth and upon arrival I counted 11 people so I asked someone why they rushed me. And they said that the person over there has a type of mental illness (it's not down syndrome but it's some form of mental disability). So I wanted to know is this person really not halachicly allowed to help make a minyan?


2 Answers 2


Another other simple answer is that there is no simple answer (as per the title of the question, i.e. Down syndrome).

An important factor, obviously besides for age, in order to qualify for a minyan (quorum to pray) is IQ level which varies among affected persons, with an average of 50. Hence, there can't be a blanket Yes/No answer.

Consequently, there's no one answer if a person afflicted with DS can convert. Another example is whether upon becoming thirteen years of age they are permitted to read from the Torah (Bet Av vol. 6 §4). Or, if their Kiddushin is valid or not.


The simple answer is no. Mentally disabled or ill people are usually considered "Shotim" (plural of "Shoteh", a loose translation is a fool - in the sense that they are not in control of their actions) in the halacha and they can't join a minyan as they are exempt of the mandatory mitzvot ("Patur me'mitzvot" in the halacha).

Most mentally ill people are considered "Shotim". Mentally disabled people with a level of comprehension of less than a 6-year-old's are exempt as well. If their level is that of a 6-year-old, they have to abide the mitzvot they understand. (Igrot Moshe YD 4:29, Minhat Shlomo 1:34)

NOTE: Dyslexia is not a mental disability.

  • Not all mentally disabled people are Shotim... What if you have dyslexia?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 11:41
  • Where I'm from, Dyslexia is not a mental disability, more of a disorder.
    – Raph Peres
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 12:23
  • Semantics... How are you defining "mental disability"? Without that info this post is essentially worthless
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 12:25
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Raph Peres
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 13:44

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