Ḳaddish: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Kaddish article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kaddish (קדיש Aramaic: "holy") is a prayer found in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God's name. In the liturgy different versions of the Kaddish are used functionally as separators between sections of the service. The term "Kaddish" is often used to refer specifically to "The Mourners' Kaddish", said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services as well as at funerals and memorials. When mention is made of "saying Kaddish", this unambiguously denotes the rituals of mourning.

The opening words of this prayer are inspired by Ezekiel 38:23, a vision of God becoming great in the eyes of all the nations. The central line of the Kaddish in Jewish tradition is the congregation's response: יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא (Yehei shmëh rabba mevarakh lealam ulalmey almaya, "May His great name be blessed for ever, and to all eternity"), a public declaration of God's greatness and eternality.[1] This response is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew "ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד" (Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever), which is to be found in the Jerusalem Targum (יְהֵא שְׁמֵיהּ רַבָּא מְבָרֵךְ לְעָלְמֵי עַלְמִין) (Genesis 49:2 and Deuteronomy 6:4, and is similar to the wording of Daniel 2:20.

The Mourner's, Rabbis' and Complete Kaddish end with a supplication for peace ("Oseh Shalom..."), which is in Hebrew, and comes from the Bible Job 25:1.

Along with the Shema and Amidah, the Kaddish is one of the most important and central prayers in the Jewish liturgy.


History and background

"The Kaddish is in origin a closing doxology to an Aggadic discourse".[2] Most of it is written in Aramaic, which, at the time of its original composition, was the lingua franca of the Jewish people. It is not composed in the vernacular Aramaic, however, but rather in a "literary, jargon Aramaic" that was used in the academies, and is identical to the dialect of the Targum.[2]

Kaddish was not originally said by mourners, but rather by the rabbis when they finished giving sermons on Sabbath afternoons and later, when they finished studying a section of midrash or aggadah. This practice developed in Babylonia where most people understood only Aramaic and sermons were given in Aramaic so Kaddish was said in the vernacular. This is why it is currently said in Aramaic. This "Rabbinical Kaddish" (Kaddish d'Rabbanan) is still said after studying midrash or aggadah or after reading them as part of the service. It differs from the regular Kaddish because of its inclusion of a prayer for rabbis, scholars and their disciples. While anyone may say this Kaddish, it has become the custom for mourners to say the Rabbinical Kaddish in addition to the Mourner's Kaddish.[1]

The oldest version of the Kaddish is found in the Siddur of Rab Amram Gaon, c. 900. The Jewish Virtual Library observes that "The first mention of mourners saying Kaddish at the end of the service is in a thirteenth century halakhic writing called the Or Zarua. The Kaddish at the end of the service became designated as Kaddish Yatom or Mourners' Kaddish (literally, "Orphan's Kaddish")".[1]

The Lord's Prayer in Christianity has its roots in the Jewish liturgy and it shares themes with Kaddish ("Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name").


The various versions of the Kaddish are:

  • Hatzi Kaddish (חצי קדיש) or Kaddish Le'ela (קדיש לעלא) – Literally "Half Kaddish", sometimes called the "Readers Kaddish"
  • Kaddish Yatom (קדיש יתום) or Kaddish Yehe Shelama Rabba (קדיש יהא שלמא רבא) – Literally "Orphan's Kaddish", although commonly referred to as Kaddish Avelim (קדיש אבלים), the "Mourners' Kaddish"
  • Kaddish Shalem (קדיש שלם) or Kaddish Titkabbal (קדיש תתקבל) – Literally "Complete Kaddish" or "Whole Kaddish"
  • Kaddish d'Rabbanan (קדיש דרבנן) or Kaddish al Yisrael (קדיש על ישראל) – Literally "Kaddish of the Rabbis"
  • Kaddish ahar Hakk'vura (קדיש אחר הקבורה) – Literally "Kaddish after a Burial", also called Kaddish d'Ithadata (קדיש דאתחדתא) named after one of the first distinguishing words in this variant. In the presence of a minyan, this version is also said at the siyum upon completion of the comprehensive study of any one of the Talmud's tractates ("volumes") and is printed at the end of most tractates.

All versions of the Kaddish begin with the Hatzi Kaddish (there are some extra passages in the Kaddish after a burial). The longer versions contain additional paragraphs, and are often named after distinctive words in those paragraphs.

The Half Kaddish is used to punctuate divisions within the service: for example, before Barekhu, between the Shema and the Amidah and following readings from the Torah. The Kaddish d'Rabbanan is used after any part of the service that includes extracts from the Mishnah or the Talmud, as its original purpose was to close a study session. Kaddish Titkabbal originally marked the end of the service, though at later times extra passages and hymns were added to after it.

The Jewish Encyclopedia's article on Kaddish mentions an additional type of Kaddish, called "Kaddish Yahid", or "Individual's Kaddish".[1] This is included in the Siddur of Amram Gaon, but is a meditation taking the place of Kaddish rather than a Kaddish in the normal sense.

Text of the Kaddish

The following includes the half, complete, mourners' and rabbis' kaddish. The variant lines of the burial kaddish are given below.

# English translation Transliteration Aramaic / Hebrew
1 May His great name be exalted and sanctifiedb is God's great name.a Yitgaddal veyitqaddash shmeh rabba יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא.
2 in the world which He created according to His will! Beʻalma di vra khir'uteh בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ
3 May He establish His kingdom veyamlikh malkhuteh וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ
4 and may His salvation blossom and His anointed be near.ad [veyatzmakh purqaneh viqarev (ketz) meshiheh] וְיַצְמַח פֻּרְקָנֵהּ וִיקָרֵב(קיץ) מְשִׁיחֵהּ
5 during your lifetime and during your days behayekhon uvyomekhon בְּחַיֵּיכוֹן וּבְיוֹמֵיכוֹן
6 and during the lifetimes of all the House of Israel, uvkhaye dekhol bet yisrael וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל
7 speedily and very soon! And say, Amen.a beʻagala uvizman qariv veʼimru amen בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
The next two lines are recited by the congregation and then the leader:
8 May His great name be blessed yehe shmeh rabba mevarakh יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ
9 for ever, and to all eternity! leʻalam ulʻalme ʻalmaya לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא
10 Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, Yitbarakh veyishtabbakh veyitpaar veyitromam יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרוֹמַם
11 extolled and honoured, adored and lauded veyitnasse veyithaddar veyitʻalle veyithallal וְיִתְנַשֵּׂא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל
12 be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He,a shmeh dequdsha, brikh hu. שְׁמֵהּ דְקֻדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא.
13 above and beyond all the blessings, leʻella (lʻella mikkol) min kol birkhata לְעֵלָּא (לְעֵלָּא מִכָּל) מִן כָּל בִּרְכָתָא
14 hymns, praises and consolations veshirata tushbehata venehemata וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא
15 that are uttered in the world! And say, Amen.a daamiran bealma veʼimru amen דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
The half kaddish ends here.
Here the "complete kaddish" includes:
16 eMay the prayers and supplications Titqabbal tzlothon uvaʻuthon תִּתְקַבל צְלוֹתְהוֹן וּבָעוּתְהוֹן
17 of all Israel dekhol bet yisrael דְכָל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל
18 be accepted by their Father who is in Heaven; And say, Amen.a qodam avuhon di bishmayya, veʼimru amen קֳדָם אֲבוּהוֹן דִּי בִשְׁמַיָּא וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
Here the "kaddish of the rabbis" includes:
19 To Israel, to the Rabbis and their disciples ʻal yisrael veʻal rabbanan veʻal talmidehon עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל רַבָּנָן וְעַל תַּלְמִידֵיהוֹן
20 to the disciples of their disciples, veʻal kol talmidey talmidehon וְעַל כָּל תַּלְמִידֵי תַלְמִידֵיהוֹן.
21 and to all those who engage in the study of the Torah veʻal kol man deʻos'kin beorayta וְעַל כָּל מָאן דְּעָסְקִין בְּאוֹרַיְתָא.
22 in this [holy]z place or in any other place, di beatra [qadisha] haden vedi bekhol atar veatar דִּי בְאַתְרָא [קַדִישָא] הָדֵין וְדִי בְּכָל אֲתַר וַאֲתַר.
23 may there come abundant peace, yehe lehon ulekhon shlama rabba יְהֵא לְהוֹן וּלְכוֹן שְׁלָמָא רַבָּא
24 grace, lovingkindness and compassion, long life hinna vehisda verahamey vehayye arikhe חִנָּא וְחִסְדָּא וְרַחֲמֵי וְחַיֵּי אֲרִיכֵי
25 ample sustenance and salvation umzone reviche ufurqana וּמְזוֹנֵי רְוִיחֵי וּפוְּרְקָנָא
26 from the Father who is in heaven (and earth); min qodam avuhon di vishmayya [veʼarʻa]e מִן קֳדָם אֲבוּהוּן דְבִשְׁמַיָּא [וְאַרְעָא]
27 and say, Amen.a veʼimru amen וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
All variants but the half kaddish conclude:
28 fMay there be abundant peace from heaven, Yehe shlama rabba min shmayya יְהֵא שְׁלָמָה רבָּא מִן שְׁמַיָּא,
29 [and] [good] life [ve]hayyim [tovim] [וְ]חַיִּים [טוֹבִים]
30 satisfaction, help, comfort, refuge, vesava vishuʻa venekhama veshezava וְשָֹבָע וִישׁוּעָה וְנֶחָמָה וְשֵׁיזָבָה
31 healing, redemption, forgiveness, atonement, urfuʼa ugʼulla usliha v'khappara וּרְפוּאָה וּגְאֻלָּה וּסְלִיחָה וְכַפָּרָה,
32 relief and salvationd verevah vehatzala וְרֵוַח וְהַצָּלָה
33 for us and for all His people Israel; and say, Amen.a lanu ulkhol ʻammo yisrael veʼimru amen לָנוּ וּלְכָל עַמּוֹ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן.
34 fMay He who makes peace in His high places ʻose shalom bimromav עוֹשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו,
35 grant [in his mercy]g peace for us hu [berakhamav] yaʻase shalom ʻalenu הוּא [בְּרַחֲמָיו] יַעֲשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ,
36 and for all [his nation]h Israel; and say, Amen.a veʻal kol [ammo] yisrael, veʼimru amen וְעַל כָּל [עַמּוֹ] יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן.

Text of the Burial Kaddish

In the burial kaddishi, lines 2-3 are replaced by:

# English translation Transcription Aramaic / Hebrew
37 In the world which will be renewed B'ʻal'ma d'hu ʻatid l'ithaddata בְּעָלְמָא דְהוּא עָתִיד לְאִתְחַדָּתָא
38 and where He will give life to the dead ulʼahaya metaya וּלְאַחֲיָאָה מֵתַיָא
39 and raise them to eternal life ulʼassaqa yathon l'chayyey ʻal'ma וּלְאַסָּקָא יָתְהוֹן לְחַיֵּי עָלְמָא
40 and rebuild the city of Jerusalem ulmivne qarta dirushlem וּלְמִבְנֵא קַרְתָּא דִירוּשְׁלֵם
41 and complete His temple there uleshakhlala hekhleh b'gavvah וּלְשַׁכְלָלָא הֵיכְלֵהּ בְּגַוַּהּ
42 and uproot foreign worship from the earth ulmeʻqar pulhana nukhraʼa m'arʻa וּלְמֶעְקַר פֻּלְחָנָא נֻכְרָאָה מְאַרְעָא
43 and restore Heavenly worship to it position v'laʼatava pulhana dishmayya l'ʼatreh וּלַאֲתָבָא פֻּלְחָנָא דִשְׁמַיָּא לְאַתְרֵהּ
44 and the Holy One, blessed is He, v'yamlikh qudsha b'rikh hu וְיַמְלִיךְ קֻדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא
45 reign in His sovereignty splendour ... b'malkhuteh viqareh בְּמַלְכוּתֵהּ וִיקָרֵהּ


  • Bracketed text varies according to personal or communal traditions.
  • (a) The congregation responds with "amen" (אָמֵן) after lines 1, 4, 12, 15, 18, 27, 33, 36. In the Ashkenazi tradition, the response to line 12 is "Blessed be he" (בְּרִיךְ הוּא b'rikh hu).
  • (b) On line 1, some say Yitgaddel veyitqaddesh rather than Yitgaddal veyitqaddash, putting these words into a Hebrew rather than an Aramaic form.
  • (c) Line 13: in the Ashkenazi tradition the repeated "le'ela" is used only during the Ten Days of Repentance. In the Sephardi tradition it is never used. In the Yemenite tradition it is the invariable wording. The phrase "le'ela le'ela" is the Targum's translation of the Hebrew "ma'la ma'la" (Deuteronomy 28:43).
  • (d) Lines 4 and 30-32 are not present in the Ashkenazi tradition.
  • (e) Line 26: Sephardi Jews say malka di-shmaya ve-ar'a (the King of Heaven and Earth) instead of avuhon de-vi-shmaya (their Father in Heaven).
  • (f) During the "complete kaddish" some include:
    • Before line 16, "accept our prayer with mercy and favour"
    • Before line 28, "May the name of God be blessed, from now and forever" (Psalms 113:2)
    • Before line 34, "My help is from God, creator of heaven and earth" (Psalms 121:2)
  • (g) Line 35: "b'rahamav" is used by Sephardim in all versions of kaddish; by Ashkenazim only in "Kaddish deRabbanan".
  • (h) Line 36: "ammo" is used by most Sephardim, but not by some of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews or Ashkenazim.
  • (i) Lines 37 to 45: these lines are used (i) in the Burial Kaddish; (ii) in the version of the Kaddish DeRabbanan used in a siyum on the completion of a Talmudic tractate; (iii) by Yemenite Jews, in Kaddish DeRabbanan generally.
  • (z) In line 22, the bracketed word is added in the Land of Israel.

Full Hebrew, translation and transliteration can also be found at the Orthodox Unions.[3]


The Kaddish, as used in the services on special days is chanted. There are different melodies in different Jewish traditions and within each tradition the melody can change according to the version, the day it is said and even the position in the service. The Mourners' Kaddish is never sung and many mourners recite it slowly and contemplatively.

In Sephardi synagogues the whole congregation sits for Kaddish, except:

  • during the Kaddish immediately before the Amidah, where everyone stands;
  • during the Mourners' Kaddish, where those reciting it stand and everyone else sits. In Ashkenazi synagogues, the custom varies. Very commonly, in both Orthodox and Reform congregations, everyone stands; but in some (especially many Conservative) synagogues, most of the congregants sit. Sometimes, a distinction is made between the different forms of Kaddish, or each congregant stands or sits according to his or her own custom. The Mourners' Kaddish is often treated differently from the other variations of Kaddish in the service, as is the Half Kaddish before the maftir.

Some Reform synagogues have dropped all use of Kaddish except the Mourners' Kaddish, though in many there is now a move to reinstate it before Barechu and/or the Amidah.

Mourners' Kaddish

"Mourners' Kaddish" is said at all prayer services and certain other occasions. It takes the form of Kaddish Yehe Shelama Rabba, and is traditionally recited several times, most prominently at or towards the end of the service, after the Aleinu and/or closing Psalms and/or (on the Sabbath) Ani'im Zemirot. Following the death of a parent, child, spouse, or sibling it is customary to recite the Mourners' Kaddish in the presence of a congregation daily for thirty days or eleven months in the case of a parent, and then at every anniversary of the death. The "mourner" who says the Kaddish will be any person present at a service who has the obligation to recite Kaddish in accordance with these rules.

Customs for reciting the Mourners' Kaddish vary markedly among various communities. In Sephardi synagogues, the custom is that all the mourners stand and chant the Kaddish together. In Ashkenazi synagogues, the earlier custom was that one mourner be chosen to lead the prayer on behalf of the rest, though most congregations have now adopted the Sephardi custom. In many Reform synagogues, the entire congregation recites the Mourners' Kaddish together. This is sometimes said to be for those victims of the Holocaust who have no one left to recite the Mourner's Kaddish on their behalf. In some congregations (especially Reform and Conservative ones), the Rabbi will read a list of those who have a Yahrzeit on that day (or who have died within the past month), and then ask the congregants to name any people they are mourning for. Some synagogues try to multiply the number of times that the Mourners' Kaddish is recited, for example, reciting a separate Mourners' Kaddish after both Aleinu and then each closing Psalm. Other synagogues limit themselves to one Mourners' Kaddish at the end of the service.

It is important to note that the Mourners' Kaddish does not mention death at all, but instead praises God. Though the Kaddish is often popularly referred to as the "Jewish Prayer for the Dead," that designation more accurately belongs to the prayer called "El Maleh Rahamim," which specifically prays for the soul of the deceased.

Creative works

Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, Kaddish, for Orchestra, Mixed Chorus, Boys' Choir, Speaker and Soprano Solo, 1963 (revised in 1977), is a dramatic work dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy. Some interpret it as reaction to the Holocaust, but there is no documentary evidence for this view.

Kaddish for Naomi Ginsberg (1894-1956) is one of the most famous and celebrated poems of beat poet Allen Ginsberg

"Kaddish" is the title for a work by W. Francis McBeth for a concert band, based on the chant of the prayer. McBeth composed this work as a memorial for his teacher J. Clifton Williams.[4]

"Inspired by Kaddish" is a fifteen movement musical composition by Lawrence Siegel. One of the movements is the prayer itself; the remaining fourteen movements are stories of the experiences of a number of Holocaust survivors Lawrence interviewed during his research for the piece. It was debuted by the Keene State College Chamber Singers in May, 2008 in Keene, New Hampshire.[5]

French composer Maurice Ravel also composed a song using text from of part of the Kaddish. It was commissioned in 1914 by Alvina Alvi as part of a set of two songs: "Deux mélodies hébraïques". It was composed in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and first performed in June 1914 by Alvi with Ravel at the piano.

Uses in the arts

The Kaddish has been a particularly common theme and reference point for Jewish writers, especially since the Haskalah.

  • Kaddish and Other Poems is the title of a collection of poetry published by Allen Ginsberg in 1961. The first poem in the collection is entitled "Kaddish" and was dedicated to the author's mother, Naomi Ginsberg (1894-1956).
  • "Kaddish" is the title of an episode of the television show The X-Files (season 4, episode 15), in which a Golem is avenging a murder.
  • "Kaddish" is the title of an episode of the television show Homicide: Life on the Street (season 5, episode 17), in which detective John Munch (Richard Belzer), who is Jewish, investigates the rape and murder of his childhood sweetheart.
  • The Mourner's Kaddish can be heard being recited by Collins and Roger during the song "La Vie Boheme" in the musical Rent.
  • In the television series Drawn Together, Toot recites the Mourner's Kaddish in the episode "A Very Special Drawn Together Afterschool Special," after saying that her son was (metaphorically) dead.
  • In Rocky III, Rocky Balboa recites the Mourners' Kaddish for Mickey.
  • In Philip Roth's novel The Human Stain, the narrator states that the Mourners' Kaddish signifies that "a Jew is dead. Another Jew is dead. As though death were not a consequence of life but a consequence of having been a Jew."
  • In Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, one of the antagonists goes by the name of Kadaj, possibly a take on Kaddish, which keeps in line with the common use of religious symbolism throughout Final Fantasy VII (Jenova is another example of this.)
  • In Tony Kushner's play Angels in America (and the subsequent TV miniseries), the characters of Louis Ironson and Ethel Rosenberg say the Kaddish over Roy Cohn's dead body.
  • In the television show Everwood, Ephram Brown recites the Mourner's Kaddish at his mother's unveiling.
  • The Kaddish can be heard in the opening credits of Schindler's List.
  • In Yentl, at her father's burial, the rabbi asks who will say Kaddish (Kaddish is traditionally said by a son). Yentl replies that she will and, to the horror of those assembled, grabs the siddur and starts saying Kaddish.
  • Kaddisch is the first of Ravel's two songs Deux mélodies hébraïques.
  • The fictional character Dan Turpin was killed by Darkseid in Superman: The Animated Series, and at his funeral, there was a Rabbi saying Kaddish. After the episode, there was a message that the episode was dedicated to Jack Kirby, a Jewish comic book artist, who influenced the entire comic book community.
  • In Torch Song Trilogy, the main character Arnold Beckoff says the Mourner's Kaddish for his murdered lover, Alan, much to the horror of his mother.
  • Kaddish For Uncle Manny"[6] from the 4th season of Northern Exposure (first aired 5-3-93) relates to Joel's (Rob Morrow) seeking out of ten Jews in remote Alaska to join him for Kaddish in memory of his recently departed Uncle Manny in New York City. Maurice Minnifield (Barry Corbin) takes to Alaska's airwaves and offers a cash stipend for Jews in KBHR's listening area to trek to Cicely in order to form a minyan, or the prerequisite ten adult males, to accompany his recital of the prayer. As strangers appear from nowhere, Joel realizes that his mitzvah to say Kaddish for his uncle is best accomplished through the presence of his new Cicely family, who although Gentile, are most near and dear to him as compared with ten 'mercenary' Jews who are unknown to him. The episode ends with Joel leading the townspeople through the service.
  • Nobel Laureate Imre Kertesz's "Kaddish for an Unborn Child"
  • Zadie Smith's novel "The Autograph Man" revolves around Alex-Li Tandem, a dealer in autograph memorabilia whose father's Yahrzeit is approaching. The epilogue of the novel features a scene in which Alex-Li recites Kaddish with a minyan.
  • In Frederick Forsyth's novel The Odessa File, a Jew who commits suicide in 1960s Germany requests in his diary/suicide note that someone say Kaddish for him in Israel. At the end of the Novel, a Mossad agent involved in the plot, who comes into possession of the diary, fulfils the dead man's wish.
  • Concept album Kaddish (1993) created by Richard Wolfson (musician) with Andy Saunders using the band name Towering Inferno.
  • The "Kaddish" can be heard in the 1980 movie "Jazz Singer" staring Neil diamond. Character "Cantor Rabinovitch" played by Sir Laurence Olivier says the Kaddish while disowning his son.The Kaddish helps bring forth the power needed to evoke the emotion of loss.


  • Cyrus Adler, et al. "Kaddish". Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906. pp. 401-403.
  • Yesodot Teffilah, Rabbi Eliezer Levi, published by Abraham Zioni Publishing House,Israel 1977. P173

External links

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Name of the doxology recited, with congregational responses, at the close of the prayers in the synagogue; originally, and now frequently, recited after Scripture readings and religious discourses in schoolhouse or synagogue. It is, with the exception of the last clause, composed in Aramaic. The following is the translation:

"Magnified and sanctified [comp. Ezek. xxxviii. 23] be His Great Name in the world which He hath created according to His will. May He establish His Kingdom during your life and during your days, and during the life of the whole household of Israel, even speedily and in a near time! So say ye 'Amen.'"

Response: "Let His Great Name be blessed forever and unto all eternity!"

"Blessed, praised, and glorified, exalted, extolled, and honored, uplifted and lauded, be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He ! above all the blessings and hymns [benedictions and psalms], the praises and consolations [the prophetic words], which are uttered in the world. So say ye 'Amen.'"

"May the prayers and supplications of all Israel be accepted by their Father, who is in Heaven! So say ye 'Amen.'"

Ḳaddish di-Rabanan: "Upon Israel, and the masters and their disciples, and the disciples of their disciples, and upon all those that occupy themselves with the Torah, whether in this place or in any other place, come peace and favor, and grace and mercy, and a long life and ample sustenance, and redemption, from their Father, in Heaven. So say ye 'Amen.'"

"May there be abundant peace from Heaven and life [the Portuguese liturgy inserts: "and plenty, salvation and consolation, redemption and healing, forgiveness and pardon, freedom and safety"] for us and all Israel! So say ye 'Amen!'"

Response: "He who maketh peace in His Heights, may He make peace for us and all Israel! So say ye 'Amen!'"

In place of the first paragraph, the Ḳaddish recited after burial has the following:

"Magnified and sanctified be His Great Name in the world that is to be created anew when He will revive the dead and raise them up into life eternal, and when He will rebuild the city of Jerusalem and establish His Temple in the midst thereof, and uproot all false worship from the earth, and restore the worship of the true God. May the Holy One, blessed be He! reign in His sovereignty and glory during your life and in your days, and in the days of the whole household of Israel, speedily and at a near time. So say ye 'Amen!'"



The Ḳaddish has a remarkable history. Originally, it had no relation whatsoever to the prayers, and still less to the dead. It was the doxology recited by the teacher or preacher at the close of his discourse, when he was expected to dismiss the assembly with an allusion to the Messianic hope, derived especially from the Prophets and the Psalms. Therefore Ezek. xxxviii. 23 is employed; and as the last redemption of Israel was, like the first, brought in connection with the Holy Name (see Pes. 50a; Pesiḳ. 92a; Ex. iii. 15), the emphasis was put upon the congregational response, "May His Great Name be praised for all eternity!" (see Sifre, Deut. 306). So great was the value attached to this response that the Talmud (Soṭah 49a) declares: "Since the destruction of the Temple the world has been sustained by the Ḳedushshah of the liturgy and the 'yehe shemeh rabba' [the Ḳaddish response] of the haggadic discourse." "Joining loudly and in unison in the congregational response 'yehe shemeh rabba' has the power of influencing the heavenly decree in one's favor, or of obtaining for one forgiveness," assert R. Joshua b. Levi and R. Johanan (Shab. 119b; comp. Midr. Mishle x. 10, xiv. 4). When Israel enters the synagogue or the schoolhouse and responds, "Let His Great Name be praised!" the Holy One, blessed be He! says: "Happy the king who is thus lauded in his house!" (Ber. 3a).

The name "Ḳaddish" for the doxology occurs first in Masseket Soferim xvi. 12, xix. 1, xxi. 6; the Ḳaddish at funerals is mentioned ib. xix. 12: being addressed to the whole assembly, it was spoken in the Babylonian vernacular (see Tos. Ber. 3a). The two paragraphs preceding the last, which is a late addition, were originally simple formulas of dismissal by the preacher (comp. M. Ḳ. 21a). The "Ḳaddish of the students" still shows its original connection with the schoolhouse, and is a prayer for the scholars; occasionally, therefore, special prayers were inserted for the "nasi" or the "resh galuta," or for distinguished scholars like Maimonides (see Ibn Verga, "Shebeṭ Yehudah," ed. Wiener; "Sefer Yuḥasin," ed. Filipowski, p. 219).

The Ḳaddish for the dead was originally recited at the close of the seven days' mourning, with the religious discourses and benedictions associated with it, but, according to Masseket Soferim xix. 12, only at the death of a scholar; afterward, in order not to put others to shame, it was recited after every burial (Naḥmanides, "Torat ha-Adam," p. 50; see Mourning).

In the course of time the power of redeeming the dead from the sufferings of Gehenna came to be ascribed, by some, to the recitation of the Ḳaddish.

Redeeming Powers Ascribed to the Ḳaddish.

In "Otiyyot de-R. 'Aḳiba," a work of the geonic time, it is said, under the letter "zayin," that "at the time of the Messiah God shall sit in paradise and deliver a discourse on the new Torah before the assembly of the pious and the angelic hosts, and that at the close of the discourse Zerubbabel shall rise and recite the Ḳaddish with a voice reaching from one end of the world to the other; to which all mankind will respond 'Amen.' All souls of Jews and Gentiles in Gehenna will respond with 'Amen,' so that God's mercy will be awakened and He will give the keys of Gehenna to Michael and Gabriel, the archangels, saying: 'Open the gates, that a righteous nation which observeth the faith may enter' [Isa. xxvi. 2, "shomer emumim" being explained as "one that sayeth 'Amen'"]. Then the 40,000 gates of Gehenna shall open, and all the redeemed of Gehenna, the wicked ones of Israel, and the righteous of the Gentiles shall be ushered into paradise." The following legend is later: Akiba met a spirit in the guise of a man carrying wood; the latter told Akiba that the wood was for the fire in Gehenna, in which he was burned daily in punishment for having maltreated the poor while tax-collector, and that he would be released from his awful torture if he had a son to recite the Bareku and the Ḳaddish before a worshiping assembly that would respond with the praise of God's name. On learning that the manhad utterly neglected his son, Akiba cared for and educated the youth, so that one day he stood in the assembly and recited the Bareku and the Ḳaddish and released his father from Gehenna (Masseket Kallah, ed. Coronel, pp. 4b, 19b; Isaac of Vienna, "Or Zarua'," ed. Jitomir, ii. 11; Tanna debe Eliyahu Zuṭa xvii., where "R. Johanan b. Zakkai" occurs instead of "R. Akiba"; "Menorat ha-Ma'or," i. 1, 1, 1; Manasseh ben Israel, "Nishmat Ḥayyim," ii. 27; Baḥya ben Asher, commentary on Shofeṭim, at end; comp. Testament of Abraham, A. xiv.).

The idea that a son or grandson's piety may exert a redeeming influence in behalf of a departed father or grandfather is expressed also in Sanh. 104a; Gen. R. lxiii.; Tanna debe Eliyahu R. xvii.; Tanna debe Eliyahu Zuṭa xii.; see also "Sefer Ḥasidim," ed. Wiztinetzki, No. 32. In order to redeem the soul of the parents from the torture of Gehenna which is supposed to last twelve months ('Eduy. ii. 10; R. H. 17a), the Ḳaddish was formerly recited by the son during the whole year (Kol Bo cxiv.). Later, this period was reduced to eleven months, as it was considered unworthy of the son to entertain such views of the demerit of his parents (Shulḥan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah, 376, 4, Isserles' gloss; see Jahrzeit). The Ḳaddish is recited also on the Jahrzeit. The custom of the mourners reciting the Ḳaddish in unison is approved by Jacob Emden, in his "Siddur," and that they should recite it together with the reader is recommended by Ẓebi Hirsch Ḥayot, in "Minḥat Ḳena'ot," vii. 1. That the daughter, where there is no son, may recite the Ḳaddish was decided by a contemporary of Jair Ḥayyim Bacharach, though it was not approved by the latter (Responsa, No. 123; "Leḥem ha-Panim," p. 376). A stranger, also, may recite the Ḳaddish for the benefit of the dead (Joseph Caro, in "Bet Yosef" to Yoreh De'ah, l.c.). For the custom in Reform congregations see Reform.

Bibliography: M. Brück, Pharisäische Volkssitten und Ritualien, 1840, pp. 94-101; Hamburger, R. B. T. ii.; Landshuth, Seder Biḳḳur Ḥolim, 1853, pp. lix.-lxvi.; Zunz, G. V. 1892, p. 387.

—Ritual Use:

There are five forms of the Ḳaddish: (1) Ḳaddish di-Rabanan (Scholar's Ḳaddish); (2) Ḳaddish Yaḥid (Individual, or Private, Ḳaddish); (3) Ḳaddish de-Ẓibbur (Congregational Ḳaddish; this form of the Ḳaddish has two divisions—the Ḥaẓi Ḳaddish [Semi-Ḳaddish] and the Ḳaddish Shalem [Full Ḳaddish]); (4) the Burial Ḳaddish (the Mourner's First Ḳaddish); (5) Ḳaddish Yatom (Orphan's Ḳaddish), or Ḳaddish Abelim (Mourner's Ḳaddish).

Forms of Ḳaddish and Their Use.

  1. The Scholar's Ḳaddish is recited upon the completion of a division of the Mishnah or of a masseket of the Talmud, or of a lecture by the rabbi or maggid. The students of the various yeshibot, or private scholars, are frequently called upon to recite a chapter of the Mishnah, after which, as a rule, the baraita of R. Hananiah b. 'Akashya (end of Makkot) is read, followed by Ḳaddish di-Rabanan, for the repose of the souls of the dead.
  2. The Ḳaddish Yaḥid usually preceded a supplication for the satisfaction of worldly needs. The beginning of the so-called "Lord's Prayer" is an example of the formula used in early times, and resembles that contained in Tanna debe Eliyahu Rabbah (e.g., in ch. v. and xiv.). The Ḳaddish Yaḥid was also a response to the Ḳaddish recited by the synagogal reader. The prayer-book of Amram Gaon of the ninth century contains various forms (pp. 3, 10, 12, 13, 14, and 18, ed. Warsaw, 1865). The response of the congregation has since been curtailed to "Yehe Shemeh Rabbah."
  3. The Ḳaddish de-Ẓibbur is recited by the ḥazzan at public prayer. This Ḳaddish consists of Ḥaẓi Ḳaddish and Ḳaddish Shalem. The Ḥaẓi Ḳaddish, up to "Titḳabbal," is said by the ḥazzan: (1) before "Bareku"; (2) after the morning "Taḥanun" (prostration); (3) after the "Ashre" of the "Minḥah" (afternoon prayer); (4) before "Wehu Raḥum"; (5) before the "'Amidah" (standing prayer), in the evening; (6) before "Wi-Yehi No'am," on Saturday night; (7) before the "Musaf" prayer; (8) after reading the Torah. The Ḳaddish Shalem is recited: (1) after "U-ba le-Ẓiyyon," at morning prayer; (2) after the "'Amidah" of "Minḥah"; (3) after the "'Amidah" for the evening; (4) before "Weyitten Leka," on Saturday night; (5) after the "Musaf" prayer.
  4. The Burial Ḳaddish, recited immediately after the burial, is quoted in Soferim xix. (end). According to Maimonides this is the Rabanan Ḳaddish, and should be recited after study; this is the present practise of the Orient; but Western custom has reserved it for burials, at which the assembly joins in the recitation of the mourners up to the word "beḥayyekon" (Baer, "Seder 'Abodat Yisrael," p. 588).
  5. The Ḳaddish Yatom, like the regular mourner's Ḳaddish, is the full Ḳaddish of the ḥazzan (with the exception of the "Titḳabbal" sentence), up to "Yehe Shelama." The Ḳaddish after the "'Alenu" is usually recited by the orphan. The Ḳaddish Yatom is said also after "Piṭṭum ha-Ḳeṭoret," "An'im Zemirot," the Daily Psalm, and "Bame Madliḳin" (on Friday night).

Rules of Precedence.

Concerning the precedence of the various classes of mourners as regards the right of saying Ḳaddish, there is a difference of opinion. The Ashkenazic custom gives the following order: (1) Jahrzeit; (2) the first seven days of mourning; (3) the first thirty days of mourning; (4) the first year, or rather eleven months, of mourning less one day. The Jahrzeit mourner has the precedence over all for one Ḳaddish. If several Jahrzeit mourners are represented, the Ḳaddishim are divided among them to the exclusion of others. If there are more Jahrzeit mourners than there are Ḳaddishim in the service, lots are drawn. After each of the Jahrzeit mourners has recited one Ḳaddish the rest go to the seven-day mourners. If there are no seven-day mourners, the thirty-day mourners recite them. The first-year mourner, in the absence of other mourners, recites one Ḳaddish after the Daily Psalm, and the Jahrzeit mourners all the rest. A minor who is an orphan takes precedence over an older person. A resident or a Jahrzeit mourner has the preference over a newcomer, unless the latter be a seven-day mourner, when their rights are equal. Mourners whose rights of precedence are equal decide among themselves by drawing lots.

The Sephardic minhag, however, allows the mourners to recite the Ḳaddish jointly, but they are so distributed in the synagogue that the congregation may distinguish their voices at various points and respond "Amen." This custom is gradually being accepted by the Ashkenazic synagogues.

In Seder R. Amram Gaon (p. 4) an explanation is given of the custom of bowing five times during the recital of Ḳaddish—at the words (1) "yitgadal," (2) "ba-agala," (3) "yitbarak," (4) "shemeh," (5) "'oseh shalom": the five inclinations correspond with the five names of God mentioned in Mal. i. 11. The seven synonyms of praise—"blessed," "praised," "glorified," "exalted," "extolled," "honored," and "uplifted" (the word "lauded" is omitted)—signify the seven heavens above. See Jahrzeit.

Bibliography: Baer, Seder 'Abodat Yisrael, p. 16, Rödelheim, 1868; Dembitz, Jewish Services in the Synagogue and Home, pp. 105-111, Philadelphia, 1898; Landshuth, Seder Biḳḳur Ḥolim, Introduction, § 31, and p. 112, Berlin, 1867.

—Musical Rendering:

From the position of the Ḳaddish at the conclusion of each service, and more particularly from the employment of its shorter form, "Ḳaddish Le'ela," as marking off each section of the service, more importance came to be attached to the particular form of its intonation as the accompanying circumstances varied, than was due even to the nature of the doxology and the responses necessitating its public intonation. Following, too, the fundamental constructive principle of all synagogal chants, explained under Cantillation and Ḥazzanut, in consequence of which the same text varies alike in tonality and in melodic outline according to the importance of the occasion and to the esthetic expression associated with it, there have gradually shaped themselves in each of the traditional uses a number of tuneful renderings of the Ḳaddish which have become in themselves typical melodies of the day or of the service. As early as the fifteenth century such melodies were recognized; and the utmost importance was attached to their faithful reproduction at the point in the liturgy with which they had become traditionally associated (comp. MaHaRIL, ed. Sabbionetta, 43b, 49a, 61a, b, etc.).

Fixed Melodies.

These were probably the settings of the Ḳaddish, at least in outline, which are now most widely accepted; but most of those settings which exhibit formal construction are more likely later introductions due to the influence of contemporary folk-songs (see Music, Synagogal). For, originally, the model vocal phrase which, when amplified and developed to the text of the particular 'Amidah (comp. Ḥazzanut) with which it was associated, formed the intonation to which that prayer was recited, reproduced itself also in the Ḳaddish which immediately preceded the prayer. Such, indeed, still are the intonations in the ordinary week-day services, in the Sabbath afternoon service, those at the close of the Psalms, etc., in the morning service, or those before the "Musaf" of Ṭal and Geshem or the Atonement Ne'ilah, in the Ashkenazic, as well as most of the intonations in the Sephardic use.

Other settings of this class continue the intonation of the passage immediately preceding the Ḳaddish, as that for Sabbath eve in the Sephardic use (comp. De Sola and Aguilar, "Ancient Melodies," No. 9, London, 1852), or those of the New-Year and Atonement evening service in the Ashkenazic use. Others, again, such as the powerful, if florid, recitative associated with the penitential "Musaf" (see music), have been developed from traditional material independently of the associated service.

Representative Themes.

More formal in structure, and thus more nearly allied to melody according to modern conceptions, are the later, and more numerous, settings of the Ḳaddish which have been adapted from, or built on similar lines to, contemporary folk-songs. Several are far from solemn in character, as, for example, national or patriotic airs (the "Marseillaise" was employed for the Ḳaddish in Lorraine about 1830; and still more incongruous tunes have been used), or mere jingles like the festival evening melodies still utilized in England (comp. Mombach, "Sacred Musical Compositions," pp. 115, 117, London, 1881) or that often used in Germany after the Festival of the Reading of the Law (comp. Baer, "Ba'al Tefillah," No. 825, Göteborg, 1877; Frankfort, 1883). Others, enriched with characteristically Hebraic adornment, majestic or pathetic in themselves, have in turn become representative themes, like the prayer-motives of the ḥazzanut, typifying the sentiment prominent in the service or occasion with which they are associated. Such, for instance, are the obviously Spanish air known among Sephardim as "La Despidida," and sung as a farewell on the last day of each festival, and the beautiful melodies employed after the reading of the lesson from the Law among the northern Jews (see music).

A very curious and unesthetic custom formerly prevailed among the Ashkenazim of chanting the Ḳaddish, after the lessons on the rejoicing of the law, to a cento of phrases from melodies in use throughout the rest of the year, the version once employed in London (comp. Mombach, "Sacred Musical Compositions," p. 137) introducing fragments of no less than twelve such airs.

The congregational responses were originally toneless, a mere loud acclaim. To Sulzer is due the casting of them into the generally accepted shape. Other composers also have presented suitable definite melodic phrases. The tendency is properly to model the responses upon the tuneful material of the particular Ḳaddish itself (comp. Baer, "Ba'al Tefillah," passim, and Cohen and Davis, "The Voice of Prayer and Praise," pp. xx. et seq., London, 1899).

Bibliography: Most collections of synagogal melodies present some form of the Ḳaddish or responses for it; see particularly those given in Baer, Ba'al Tefillah. Of especial interest, in addition to those enumerated above, are: Consolo, Canti d'Israele, Nos. 127, 302, Florence, 1892; (image) as given in Sulzer, Shir Ẓiyyon, No. 128, Vienna, 1840; Naumbourg, Aggudat Shirim, No. 15, Paris, 1874; Baer, l.c. No. 1466 (both Polish and German forms); Marksohn and Wolf, Synagogal-Melodien., Nos. 11, 13, Leipsic, 1875; Naumbourg, l.c. No. 23; Pauer and Cohen, Traditional Hebrew Melodies, No. 11, London, 1892; Braham and Nathan, Byron's Hebrew Melodies, No. 3, London, 1815; Naumann, History of Music, Eng. ed., p. 82, London, 1886; Young Israel, i. 243, ii. 104 and 152, London, 1898-99; H. Zivi, Der Jahrkaddisch für Simchasthora, Leipsic, 1902; Nowakowsky, Schlussgebet für Jom Kippur, No. 1.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
Facts about ḲaddishRDF feed


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address