Occasionally, I daven in a nursing home. Sometimes, they wheel in patients who aren't exactly aware of what is going on or where they are.

Does the requirement of forming a minyan require that all 10 men be awake as well as aware of where they are and what is happening at all times? Or is their physical presence sufficient?

If there are specific parts of davening where the rules differ, please state this. I'm obviously referring to those places in davening that specifically require a minyan such as Torah reading and Kaddish.

  • The Rambam has a good description of how "with it" one has to be to perform mitzvot including prayer, I'll find it and post after shabbas May 25, 2018 at 21:03
  • I've been told by people more knowledgeable than I that such nursing home minyanim are a big problem if there aren't 10 adult men who are aware of what's going on.
    – Daniel
    May 27, 2018 at 2:58
  • @Daniel The nursing home minyan is run by two ravs. One of them told me that several people he asked to help make a minyan refused to daven in a nursing home because of the high probability of foul odor nearby. In fact, we did have an "accident" during davening last week and we had to move our minyan outside in the cold. Moving people is not simple when about half your minyan consists of people in wheel chairs.
    – DanF
    May 27, 2018 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


If one person is sleeping or otherwise not paying attention, he can still be included for kadish. (שו"ע או"ח נה/ו) More than one sleeping should not be counted. מ"ב נה/לב Regarding chazoras ha'shatz there are different opinions. ר' חיים קניבסקי (quoted in אשי ישראל פרק ט"ו ס"ק י"א) says it has the same rule as kadish.

The Mishneh Berurah is more strict by Krisah haTorah. מ"ב נ"ה/לג and ביאור הלכה קמו/ב/ סוף ד"ה ולקרות שנים

However, anything that was started with a minyan can be finished if there are still six people left. (שו"ע נה/ב וב"מ ס"ק ו)

There may be those who would be more lenient by older or sick people, such as in a nursing home.

I don't know the exact situation you have. However, it would seem to me, that if someone is able to answer correctly when asked what was just said, it would be considered listening. By megilla on purim, Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky (in kovetz halochos 8/2) uses this as a guide to what is considered listening.

  • Is there a source for considering these elderly people as ones that are not paying attention? May 26, 2018 at 21:32
  • Why don't you add this to the answer? :-) May 27, 2018 at 7:05

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