Kli Yakar Leviticus: Kedoshim
The Power of Ten
It happens often, when I’m at a daily prayer gathering, that we are missing the tenth man that makes up the required quorum (minyan) to start communal prayer. There is a certain anxiety that sets in, in anticipation of the tenth man showing up.
One might think that prayer, which is generally a highly private, individual matter, is better, or at least equal, done in solitude. Judaism does not seem to agree with such a view. Especially regarding regular scheduled prayer.
There are a variety of Jewish rituals that require ten men in order to proceed. The Kli Yakar highlights this fact from Leviticus 19:2:
“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them: You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy.”
The Kli Yakar explains that ‘congregation’ refers to a minimum of ten men, and that a ‘holy’ act requires this number. Not only is this number required for ritual efforts, but ten Jewish men, united by one purpose, creates holiness. There is some intrinsic otherworldly power in the gathering of at least ten men for divine service.
May we avail ourselves of such gatherings when we can.
To my sons, for organizing a minyan, when I had already given up hope.