Corona Minyanim-The laws applicable to street Minyanim

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Corona Minyanim-The laws applicable to street Minyanim:

May one make a public outdoor Minyan despite the corona fears?

As already explained in a previous Daily Halacha, the view of Halacha on how to act during a time of an epidemic is that one is to self-quarantined and remain at home. This would exclude leaving the house even for street Minyanim, especially if the rules of social distancing will not be properly followed. The following laws hence apply only to public outdoor Minyanim which abide by the rulings of the local health ministry and the rulings of the local Rav. If there are people who are not being careful to keep these guidelines joining the Minyan, then it is a Mitzvah Habah Beaveira, and one should not join the Minyan at all, and is rather to Daven alone at home, and hence all the below laws are irrelevant. Likewise, anyone of age, or of medical condition, which is of higher risk to catching the virus should not join any Minyan even if the medical directives are followed, unless he joins from the window of his home. Once again, we must emphasize that people who refuse to keep the laws and medical directives are tantamount to silent murderers irrelevant to how their conscious interprets their actions, and certainly there is no right to murder someone for the sake of making a Minyan. Unfortunately, many public outdoor Minyanim are not keeping to the medical guidelines and are hence to be nullified or fixed.

Who joins the Minyan to make up the required forum of ten?[1]

All those who are outside and within sight and hearing of each other join for the Minyan of ten. There is no requirement for them to be very close together and they thus join even if they are a number of meters/feet apart from each other[2], so long as they remain within each other’s sight and hear the Chazan. People who are within their homes could likewise join if they stay by their window, or balcony and are “Maareh Panim” [face and look] towards the Minyan, or Chazan.[3] They may even join for the making of a Minyan of ten.

Balconies:[4] Ten people who are on ten balconies can only join if they can see each other or if the Chazan can see them all. Thus, if people are standing on porches of two adjacent buildings, the Chazan chosen should be a person who is in a position to see all of the ten participants.

Inside car: One can also Daven from inside his car and join the Minyan if the Chazan/Minyan can see his face.

Opposite sides of street/sidewalk:[5] Regarding joining people for a Minyan if they are on opposite sides of the street or even opposite sides of a sidewalk, then they do not join even if they can see each other. Accordingly, people standing on balconies of apartment buildings of opposite sides do not join to make up the total number of ten for a Minyan. Likewise, when making a Minyan on the street level, all participants are to be on the same side of the street and sidewalk.

If there is trash/feces or idolatry in-between:[6] Some Poskim[7] rule that one may only answer for [Amen[8]] Kaddish or Kedusha [or be Yotzei a blessing[9]] from a different area than the Minyan if there is no feces, or idolatry which is considered like feces regarding this matter, found in-between the two areas. [Other Poskim[10] however argue that feces and idolatry do not intervene.] Practically, [although the main ruling is like the lenient opinion[11]] one is [nevertheless] to suspect for the stringent opinion.[12] [However in a time of need, some Poskim[13] rule one may choose to follow the lenient opinion. Others[14] rule one is always to be stringent.]

Davening near a car/tree versus in the open:

Ideally, one is not to Daven in an exposed area, such as a field, unless one is traveling on the road.[15] Accordingly, one should try to Daven opposite a tree, or parked car, or other immoveable item.[16] This applies only for Shemoneh Esrei.

Sefer Torah:

Due to the mandatory closing of shuls caused by the coronavirus, one may bring a Sefer Torah to the public street Minyan on Shabbos or Monday/Thursday for the sake of Kerias Hatorah and then return it after the reading. See Here for the full details of this matter.

Meiyn Sheva on Friday night:

Don’t recite Meiyn Sheva after Maariv of Friday night with a blessing. It is to be recited without a blessing just as one who Davens in private. See Here for the full details of this matter.


[1] See Admur 55:16 [depends on sight]; M”B 55:48 [in building no need sight, implies out of building depends on sight]; Mishneh Sachir 1:12 [34 in new edition; depends on being in hearing distance]; Minchas Yitzchak 2:44 [depends on hearing distance and sight]; Birchas Shamayim 1:24; Rivivos Efraim 1:45; Piskeiy Teshuvos 55:22

[2] Mishneh Sachir 1:12 [34 in new edition]

[3] See Admur 55:16

[4] See Admur ibid and 55:17 [that when in two different areas, such as two balconies, then the Chazan can be Mitzaref them if he sees them all, even though they do not see each other]

[5] See Michaber 195:1; Taz 195:2; Admur 195:1 [By Zimun two groups that have Derech Harabaim between them do not join even if see each other]; Kaf Hachaim 195:11 [applies even if see each other]; P”M 55 A”A 12 [the same applies by Minyan for Davening]; Mishneh Sachir ibid; Minchas Yitzchak ibid

[6] Admur 55:22

[7] Opinion in Admur ibid; Michaber 55:20; Bahag in name of Rav Yehudaiy Gaon in name of Rav Acha; Mahariy Abuhav in name of Orchos Chaim in name of Rav Achaiy Gaon

[8] Halef Lecha Shlomo 40; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 55:30; Minchas Elazar 2:72

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the above law only applies to answering for a Davar Shebekidusha and not towards Amen. [Ashel Avraham Butchach 55; See Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 55:30 footnote 212]

[9] Machatzis Hashekel 273:13 regarding Kiddush; M”B 194:8 regarding Birchas Hamazon; Vetzaruch Iyun from Admur ibid who positioned this opinion between the Halacha of Kedusha:Kaddish and being Yotzei, hence implying they only argue regarding if one may answer, Vetzrauch Iyun.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the above law only applies to answering for a Davar Shebekidusha and not towards Amen. [See Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 55:30 footnote 212]

[10] First opinion in Michaber and Admur ibid;

[11] Implication of Michaber who only brings as Yeish Omrim, and Admur ibid who does not write Vichein Ikkur and simply writes to suspect for their words; Levushei Serud  55:20; Maaseh Rav 47; M”B 55:62 that it is implied from Michaber and Rama that they mainly hold like the lenient opinion; See Shulchan Hatahor 55:8

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the main opinion follows the stringent opinion. [Kaf Hachaim 55:95]

[12] Admur ibid; Levushei Serud ibid; Kaf Hachaim 55:95

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is only to be stringent regarding Barchu and other matters which mention Hashem’s name, and not regarding Kaddish and Kedusha. [Makor Chaim 55:20; M”B 55:62 in name of Chayeh Adam; Ashel Avraham Butchach]

[13] Levushei Serud ibid

[14] Kaf Hachaim 55:95

[15] See Admur 90:5

The reason: As only in a conspicuous setting does one feel the awe of the King and have a broken heart. [ibid] 

[16] Piskeiy Teshuvos 90:5

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