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Tam’s principle can be used to allow the recitation even of texts carrying a minyan prerequisite. If so, why, according to these authorities, can’t the patur ve-ose me-vareikh principle be extended still further—to permit the recitation of public prayer texts in the absence of ten men, as R. Goren contends?

The answer47 lies in a careful review of the Mishna in the tractate of Megilla48 which lists those rituals requiring a quorum of ten participants:

When fewer than ten are present, one may not recite the shema (including kaddish and barekhu) and its attendant blessings in an abbreviated form; nor appoint a hazzan (to repeat the amida with kedusha); nor do the priests bless the congregation; nor do we read the Torah or the haftara (in public with benedictions);48* nor practice the funeral halts; nor pronounce the mourner’s benediction, the mourner’s consolation (after burial), or the nuptial blessings; nor introduce the blessing after meals using the name of God (zimmun beShem).

As Nahmanides notes, not all practices requiring a minyan are included in the Mishna’s list. The rituals mentioned are only those communal obligations (hovot ha-tsibbur) for which the halakha49 requires a minyan because of their special sanctity or public character.50 For example, the Mishna includes those prayer rituals designated as “devarim she-bi-kdusha51public acts or declarations of the sanctification of the Holy One, such as kaddish, kedusha, barekhu, the priestly blessing, the repetition of the amida, and the reading of the Torah or the haftara with their attendant berakhot. Not included, however, are those rituals which are inherently personal obligations (hovot ha-yahid) but which are performed—for reasons of pirsumei nisa (publicizing the miracle) or the like—within a community setting (e.g., reading the Megilla).

From the unequivocal and forceful language of the Mishna: “Ein . . . [osin] pahot mei-asara”—“One may not . . . [perform these] when fewer than ten are present,” it is eminently clear that under no circumstances may the texts enumerated in the Mishna be recited when a properly constituted minyan is absent.52 The Talmud53 underscores this point even further when it states,

How do we know that an individual may not recite kedusha? Because it is written, “And I shall be sanctified amongst the children of Israel”—no act of sanctification (davar she-bi-kdusha) may take place when fewer than ten are present.

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