Question:

This past Shabbos I was in a shul where they were counting a child under bar mitzvah for a minyan (even though it is in a Haredi neighborhood but the shul itself is not popular). They refused to find a tenth adult and they were doing krias hatorah. For the first five aliyas, they called up different people, including the rav, but after that I had a feeling that I would be the next aliyah, so I went and hid in the bathroom to avoid a bracha l’vatala (as their minyan is not valid). Did I do the right thing? If they would have called me up, should I simply refuse to go up?

Answer:

It is quite controversial if it is permitted to count a katan in for a minyan, but it seems that the Rov was relying on the opinions that hold that b’shas hadechak it is permitted, see sources. Therefore, since they were permitted to do what they did, your going out, really ruined it, so I would say that it was not the correct thing to do. If you would have gotten an aliya, R’ Moshe writes that you would have been allowed to say the brachos, see sources.

Best Wishes

Sources:

Magen Avrohom 55- 4,5, Shulchan Aruch Horav 55-5, Livushei Mordechai O:CH 20-1, see Igros Moshe O:CH 2-18 that even if there are other minyonim around, but different people like the minyan that they feel is their type, and by causing the minyan to close may cause some of the people not to daven, therefore it is still considered a shas hadhak.

Tags: Krias Hatorah minyan

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4 Responses to “Counting child for krias hatorah”

  1. First of all, I did not “ruin” anything, because – in their opinion – they started b’heter and therefore were allwoed to continue despite my escaping to the bathroom to avoid a safek bracha l’vatala.

    Having said that – According to the vast majority of Rishonim, Achronim, and contemporary poskim, this does not constitute a valid minyan even b’shas hadchak. Therefore, we are dealing with a safek bracha l’vatala, and I feel that I was, and am, within my rights to avoid making a safek bracha l’vatala.

    According to Chacham Ovadia, anyone who has one ounce of yiras shomayim is OBLIGATED to leave the shul so that they will have only eight people. Teshuvot Yabia Omer 4: O.C. 9 Though this is the Sephardic opinion, it shows just how controversial the matter is.

    According to the Shevet HaLevi I:115, they are not allowed to lein with such a minyan.
    The Mishna Berura says that according to many Achronim, a katan may not be counted even b’shas hadchak.
    The fact that the Mishna Berura says this makes it into a situation of safek brachos, and the klal is safek brachos lehakel.

    Therefore, to receive an aliyah in such a minyan is very not poshut.

    • Allowed to continue even though there is no longer a minyan, but according to those shitos, there still was a minyan b’dieved which got ruined.
      It definitely is not a l’chatcila thing to do, but the Rov paskened because of the shas hadchak, that they can rely on those shitos that permit it.

  2. So what should I do next time? Embarrass myself and the rav by refusing the aliyah?
    Or make 2 brachos that according to most poskim are l’vatala.?

    • Say beforehand that you don’t want an aliya, or don’t daven in such a shul.

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