Inspired by this question.

There are parts of prayer that are not said when praying alone.

Some examples (please add any I missed):

  • Friday Night: Birchat Me-in Sheva

  • Shabbos Day before Mussaf: Yekum Purkan, Mi Sheberach

  • Kaddish, Barchu, Torah reading, Chazarat Ha-Shatz (Repetition of the Amida)

When praying in the synagogue at the scheduled time together with less than 10 people (in other words not enough people showed up to make the Minyan), do you say these prayers or not. Each of those prayers have a communal aspect. Is this considered enough of a community to say the prayers or not?

In a similar vein, the Chabad custom is that an individual says the Shema Prayer, he repeats ani Hashem Elokeichem. When praying with a Minyan, the chazan repeats "Hashem Elokeichem emes". When leading a service with less than 10 men, how does the chazan finish off the Shema? This same question would apply to congregations who have the custom to say "kel melech neeman" before Sh'ma if praying alone whereas the chazan repeats "Hashem elokechem emes" when praying with a minyan.

  • I never heard of having a Chazan without a minyan. My city-boy brain tells me that wither you have a minyan or not: less then a minyon is just a bunch of people Davening b'yichidus together. Is it just me or is there a source for a quasi-quorum? Also see my answer.
    – Mbrevda
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 13:48
  • @Mbrevda maybe b'rov am hadrat melech
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 14:36
  • "tzibur", "am", "k'hal", etc. - these are all poetic to the untrained ear (like mine!), but the "sources" (from the gemora down to the Gra and back up again) seem to be extremely specific about their meanings. Hence, I don't think B'Rov Am means three people
    – Mbrevda
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


I'm a bit perplexed by the question (see my comment to the question), but here are some points to consider:

  1. when an individual prays, angels carry his prayers up to the heavens. According to the Gemora, angels don't understand Aramaic. Now, when there is a minyan, Hashem himself is present. Hence, there are many tefilos that are in Aramaic (such as Yekum Purkan) that we only say when there is a Minyan. For more on this concept, see here
    UPDATE: the above isn't as clear cut as it seems and is a Machlokes at best. Another reason that Yekum Purkan isn't said without a minyan is because it's a brocha/tefillah for the tzibur, and if there is no tzibur - there is no one to daven for! (The first Yekum Purkan is for individual Rabanim/leaders of the generation and hence an individual can say it)
  2. Mi Shebarach recited after reading the Torah is an oxymoron - you don't read the Torah with less than a Minyan. In general, I don't believe there is an issue with saying a Mi Sheberach without a minyan, and I believe the Sefardi Rabonim often gives berochos in the form of a Mi Sheberach,
  3. Birchas Me-in Sheva is an abridged form of Chazoras Hashatz, and hence the logic should follow that it requires a Minyan
  4. Hashem Elokeichem Emes - the reason for repeating that is because there are x-3 amount of words in Shema, corresponding of limbs (or something like that). Hence, we add three words to make up the difference. An apointed Shliach Tzibur can be "motzeh" us with that. As per my comment, I'm not familiar with a Shliach Tzibur sans a minyan.

To summarize: in the absence of a quorum you don't say prayers that require one, you don't say any prayers in Aramaic (even though, as per the link above, it might be acceptable for an individual to pray in the language of his choice)

  • Your links aren't valid links.
    – Seth J
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 16:30
  • @SethJ mean my sources arent valid link. Nor are they meant to be. If there is another way to have sources NOT inlined (or with manual footnotes), im open to it
    – Mbrevda
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 16:39
  • I noticed. Use parentheses. You're using the embed hyperlink option, which is confusing.
    – Seth J
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 16:42
  • I hate the sources inline! I.e. "the Rambam (Sefer x, Halacha Y, Seif, z) says" just clutters the answer. Is there a syntax to keep it clean?
    – Mbrevda
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 16:44
  • 1
    About the links: your method of doing it is ok, I guess (although explicit sources are appreciated - you could always put them at the end of the answer to avoid the clutter), but at any rate, what's in the parentheses has to be a valid URL for the link to work. "http:'/'/sotah_36b" doesn't work - there's no such page on the Internet; "http:'/'/www.hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=18&daf=36b&format=pdf" would.
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 16:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .