Why do we need ten Jewish adults for a Minyan (quorum)? Why exactly ten? According to the rabbis (BT, Megillah 23b) the reason for selecting this number is found in our Torah portion. According to our scholars the idea of a quorum of ten is derived from the ten spies, who are called a congregation (Num. 14:27), who speak ill about the land of Israel. For these ten people and their lack of faith and lies, our people spent forty years in the wilderness and because of them, today for a wedding, for reading the Torah, for praying, for reciting the Kaddish, etc., we need a Minyan. 

And I ask myself, why this episode out of all them was chosen by the rabbis to become the source for a Minyan? Wouldn’t it be better to say that ten Jewish adults compose a Minyan in memory of the ten righteous people of which Abraham spoke regarding Sodom and Gomorrah? Or the ten people that were assembled in the gates of Bet-Lechem and who were witnesses in the case of Boaz in the book of Ruth? Why did the rabbis choose precisely this passage to emphasize that a congregation is formed with a minimum of ten people? 

I would like to suggest that the reason is because each Minyan is a Tikkun, each time that we get together to have a Minyan we are repairing the mistake made by these ten leaders. They didn’t trust in Hashem; we show our trust in Hashem each time we gather to pray to HaShem. They didn’t trust in the words of the Torah; we do, so we gather in a Minyan every time we read the Torah publicly. Gathering a Minyan for a community prayer, for a Bris, a wedding or a funeral is a way to repair the mistake of our forefathers. It is saying to ourselves, to God and to the rest of the Jewish community that we believe in God and in ourselves, that we are a people of believers, sons and daughters of believers. 

Each Minyan is a Tikkun, be part of a Minyan, be part of the repairing of our world.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Uri