I spent this past Shabbos at the Torah Mesorah convention and when 1,800 people gather, an estimated 1,000 of them men, you can be sure there will be more than one minyan. In fact from Friday morning through Sunday morning there were almost continuous minyanim during prime davening times.
If all things are equal, then davening with the biggest minyan is best, because of the concept of b’rov am hadras melech (“in multitudes there is glorification of the king”). However, things are often not equal and davening in a smaller minyan is an acceptable choice for a given service. At the convention, the main minyanim for the weekday davenings was at slower pace, about 50-60 minutes for Shacharis, so many people opted for one of the smaller minyan which were starting in 2 other locations every 20-30 minutes or so.
On Shabbos morning there were three scheduled minyanim, a Neitz Minyan starting at 5:00 am, a Hashkomah Minyan at 6:45 am and the main minyan at 8:00 am. The main minyan had drashas scheduled before Krias HaTorah by Rabbi Dovid Harris (Queens) and Before Mussaf by Rabbi Malkiel Kotler (Lakewood). Although in previous years, I remember a bigger Neitz Minyan, this year there were only about 15-20 people there. My plan was to go to the Hashkomah, make kiddush, go to the drashas in the main minyan, and learno the Daf in the time snippets between the drashas and before lunch.
The Hashkomah minyan was one of the most distinguished ones I’ve ever davened at, primarily because Rabbi Shmuel Kamentzky (Philadelpia) and Rabbi Malkiel Kotler (Lakewood) davened there. The pace was perfect (for me) not too fast and not too slow. There were about 150-180 people davening. All the Aliyah’s were auctioned off, raising a respectful amount of money. And finally there was a well supplied hot kiddush with good drinks, set up on either end of the large conference room in which we davened.
I was speaking to my Rav about my Hashkomah choice and he said that for a given davening, choosing a minyan because you want to learn more or for convenience is not a problem. However, not davening with the regular Shul minyan on a weekly basis raises some other issues, which we will discuss in a future post.