Is it the practice in Chabad to use a child as the tenth person for a minyan if he holds a sefer (holy book)?
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Shulchan Aruch quotes an opinion that if a boy is over six years old and knows to Whom we are davening, he may be included as one of the ten, for the Shechina resides upon him as well. (Still, there must be nine adults, out of respect to the davar shebikdusha, so that it at least seems as though there are ten adults in the room.) Others disagree and hold that the Shechina only resides when there are ten adults.
The Alter Rebbe rules like the stricter opinion, but writes that one needn’t protest against those who are lenient when necessary, but it is preferable that the boy hold a chumash during the prayer. However, rely on this leniency only for obligatory parts of davening (Kaddish, Borchu, Kedusha, Krias haTorah, and Kaddish tiskabel), but not for customary parts (Kaddish yasom, Kaddish d’Rabanan, Birchas kohanim).
If one finds himself in such a minyan, he need not leave, though the Rebbe urged Chabad shuls not to rely on this leniency.
In certain situations, Chabad poskim (Rabbinic authorities) are more inclined to rely on this leniency, for example, if there is doubt whether one of the adults present is Jewish, or if there is doubt whether a boy is thirteen (e.g., he was born bein hashmashos).
In other situations the matter is in dispute among contemporary Chabad poskim. One should only rely on using a minor above six years of age who understands, under great duress. It definitely should not be on a regular basis.
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