Re: Class Distinction in Judaism
Sun, 12 Jan 1997 00:38:58 -0500 (EST)

In reply to:
<<According to the poskim, ten women do not make a minyan,
let alone one woman. >>

I believe that minyan is in fact a group of ten PEOPLE who share a common
obligation. This has ramifications with regards to reading the Megillat
Esther with the closing blessings as well as issues of Kiddush Hashem
(sanctifying God's name). A tzibbur for prayer is one that requires a
minyan of ten men age 13 and older.

<< ... it is just a "din" in kedusha that requires ten men.>>

I think that a thorough reading of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (siman 15) in
the original hebrew will lead most people to rethink the standard analysis of
the privilege of ten men to pray as a minyan.

It is based not on privilege or right nor desire but an obligation. When a
Jewish Male reaches the age of 13 and a day he is required to pray with a
minyan. Not that he is able to be counted ,should he choose to go,but he must
go and be counted. Women have no such obligation and therefore are not

Once this number of ten men is acheived then there is a further obligation of
these ten men to publicly pray in unison certain prayers that focus on
kedusha, the sanctity of God's name, (the same number required for the
sacrifice of one's life for the Sanctification of God's name).

<<One last point, since when is a mitzvah considered "only a mitzvah?" I
always believed that it a great zechus, merit, to be able to do mitzvos,
the will of the Ribono Shel Olam, the creator of the world.>>

While it is good and beneficial for the wellbeing of Judaism to refer to the
mitzvot as privileges and beneficial rights, we must not lose sight that the
very concept of a mitzvah is that it is a command from our 'Commander in
Chief' (l'havdil) and must be obeyed not chosen for what if one day when I
am tired I see them as not a privilege but a nuisance which makes no rational
sense at all.