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The biblical source for the requirement of ten men to complete a minyan (lit., “count” or “number”) is Numbers 14:27. Moses sent spies to scout the land of Canaan. Ten of them returned and issued a report concluding that it was not a conquerable land. G‑d was extremely disappointed with their lack of faith in His abilities. He turns to Moses and Aaron, telling them: “How long will this evil ‘assembly’ provoke [the Jewish nation] to complain against Me?” From here it is deduced that an “assembly” is comprised of ten men.

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