Chapter 15: Kaddish

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Chapter 15: Kaddish[1]

  1. Minyan:[2]

Kaddish is considered a Davar Shebekedusha which requires a Minyan in order to be said.

  1. How many answers are needed to say Kaddish?[3]

One is only required to have 6 answers from amongst the 10 of the Minyan. Hence, if three people are still in middle of Shemoneh Esrei, the Chazan may nevertheless say Kaddish.

  1. Nine people listening:[4]

If there are not 9 people listening to the Kaddish then one may not say Kaddish. Thus, it is only permitted to say Kaddish with 5 answers if the other four people are paying attention to the Kaddish, such as if they stop to hear the Kaddish. If, however, they are talking, then since they are not paying attention, they do not count as part of the Minyan of ten.

  1. Began with a Minyan and then lost Minyan in middle:[5]

Whenever one began Kaddish with a Minyan and the Minyan then left, if majority of the Minyan still remains [i.e. 6 people] then one may continue until the end of the Kaddish.

  1. If one accidentally began to say Kaddish without a Minyan, what is he to do?[6]

The person must stop reciting the Kaddish if there was no Minyan when he initially began saying it. If he does not stop, then no one in the congregation should answer Amen etc. When the tenth man arrives, he should then repeat it from the beginning.

  1. How many Kaddeishim to say and hear daily:[7]

The obligatory seven daily Kadeishim upon the Minyan: The Sages instituted to recite at least seven Kadeishim per day.

  • After Yishtabach.
  • After Shemoneh Esrei
  • After Uva Letziyon.
  • After Ashreiy of Mincha
  • After Shemoneh Esrei of Mincha
  • Before Shemonhe Esrei of Maariv
  • After Shemoneh Esrei of Maariv.

Hearing ten Kadeishim per day: Despite the above, [based on the Zohar] it is proper for every individual to be careful to answer [Amen] to at least 10 Kadeishim daily.

What to do if missing Kadeishim, such as if no Avel, or came late to Minyan: In such a case, one is to join other Minyanim for the sake of hearing a total of ten Kaddeishim.

Do the Kadeishim of Maariv count for the days ten Kadeishim or the next days? The Kaddeishim of Maariv count as part of that days ten Kadeishim. In this regard, the night is the end of that day, and is not the start of the next day.

Not to increase in unnecessary Kaddeishim:[8] Just as it is proper to diminish in the amount of Brachos one says, so too one is to diminish in the saying of unnecessary Kaddeishim.

  1. The number of Kadeishim said in each prayer of Davening:
  2. The Kaddeishim in Shacharis:
  1. Before Hodu
  2. After Yishtabach [part of obligatory seven]
  3. After Tachanun/Shemoneh Esrei [part of obligatory seven]
  4. After Kerias Hatorah on Mondays and Thursdays
  5. After Uva Letziyon [part of obligatory seven]
  6. After Shir Shel Yom [Kaddish Yasom]
  7. After Ein Kelokeinu
  8. After Aleinu [Kaddish Yasom]
  9. After Tehillim [Kaddish Yasom]
  10. After Mishnayos

  1. May Kaddish Derabanan of before Hodu be recited after Baruch Sheamar?

Some Poskim rule it may be recited, even if both the Minyan and the person reciting it is already after Baruch Sheamar. Other Poskim however rule it may not be recited after the Minyan has reached Baruch Sheamar, even if the person reciting on behalf of the Minyan is before Baruch Sheamar. 

Minyan is before Baruch Sheamar-but the Kaddish sayer is after Baruch Sheamar:  If the Minyan is before Baruch Sheamar, but the individual who desires to say the Kaddish is after Brauch Sheamar, he may not say this Kaddish. [If however he is a Yasom within 11 months of the passing of a parent, then he may recite the Kaddish even if he is past Baruch Sheamar, as explained next.]

  1. The Kaddeishim in Mincha:
  1. After Ashreiy [part of obligatory seven]
  2. After Tachanun/Shemoneh Esrei [part of obligatory seven]
  3. After Aleinu [Kaddish Yasom]
  4. After Mishnayos [By Avel]

  1. The Kaddeishim in Maariv:
  1. Before Maariv
  2. Before Shemoneh Esrei [part of obligatory seven]
  3. After Shemoneh Esrei [part of obligatory seven]
  4. After Aleinu [Kaddish Yasom]
  5. After Mishnayos [by Avel]

  1. Chabad Custom:

In Shacharis, by Chabad Minyanim, there is a total of nine Kaddeishim on days without Kerias Hatorah, and ten Kaddeishim on a day with Kerias Hatorah. Although some of these Kaddeishim are designated to be said by mourners, and are known as Kaddish Yasom, nonetheless, due to the above need to hear 10 Kaddeishim a day, they should be said by anyone whose parents are not alive even though they are not a Yasom/Chiyuv. In Mincha, by Chabad Minyanim with an Avel, there is a total of four Kaddeishim. In Maariv, by Chabad Minyanim with an Avel, there is a total of five Kaddeishim.

  1. Saying Kaddish after Shiur of Torah learning:[9]

The topic of study: We only say Kaddish after Torah learning of Pesukim or Midrush of Pesukim, but not after learning Torah Shebaal Peh such as a Mishna. For this reason, after a Torah Shiur, the custom is to say the Agadita of Chanania Ben Akashya Omer, as is done after we say then paragraph of Pitum Haketoras in Shacharis.

After a Pasuk: Kaddish Derabanan is only said after learning and not simply after the recital of Pesukim. By saying the above Agadata, we end up learning and saying a Pasuk, so Kaddish Derabanan can be said. If only Pesukim were recited, then Kaddish Shaleim without Tiskabel is said. This is why after Shir Shel Yom we say Kaddish Shaleim without Tiskabel.

Who may say the Kaddish: Even one who did not personally learn Torah may say Kaddish if he is with ten people who learned.

How many people must learn: In order to say Kaddish after learning there must be ten people who learned together. Hence, if ten people did not learn together, one is to say a piece of Torah aloud in front of ten people and only then say Kaddish. It suffices to say the Agadata of Rav Chanania in front of the ten.

  1. May one say Kaddish Yasom in the midst of Davening:

A Non-Yasom: One who is not a Yasom [not within 11 months of a parents passing] may not make an interval to recite Kaddish Yasom/Derabanan within Davening, starting from Baruch Shemara until after Shemoneh Esrei.

A Yasom: One who is a Yasom [within 11 months of the passing of a parent] may stop to say Kaddish Yasom/Derabanan within Pesukei Dezimra. Some Poskim rule one may stop to do so even in the midst of a paragraph. Other Poskim however rule one may only do so between the paragraphs [Bein Haperakim]. [Practically, it is best to do so only between the paragraphs [Bein Haperakim].] Some Poskim rule it may be recited even in middle of Birchas Shema [during Bein Haperakim]. Other Poskim rule one may not say Kaddish Yasom during Birchas Shema [even Bein Haperakim].

Yartzite: On the day of a Yartzite one follows the same law as a Yasom that is within 11 months of the passing of a parent.

  How to say the Kaddish:
  1. A. Pronunciation:[10]

One is to be careful to verbalize the words of Kaddish slowly and properly and not swallow the words. One is to say Yisgadal and not Yiskadal; Yisbareich with only a small emphasis on the Beis so it does not sound like Yispareich. Yishalal with an emphasis on the Hei so it does not sound like Yischalal.

Oseh Hashalom during Aseres Yomei Teshuvah:  During the Ten days of Repentance, at the conclusion of Kaddish one says “Oseh Hashalom” in place of “Oseh Shalom.”

  1. B. Placing feet together:[11]

The custom is to proximate the feet together while saying Kaddish, just like by Shemoneh Esrei. This applies until after the words Deamiran Bealma.

  1. Not to walk in front of person saying Kaddish:[12]

Due to the above reason it is forbidden to walk in front of a person saying Kaddish. This applies until after the words Deamiran Bealma.

  1. Facing Mizrach:

The custom is to face Mizrach while saying Kaddish, just like by Shemoneh Esrei.

  1. Bowing during Kaddish:[13]

It is customary that the Chazan bow during Kaddish.

Where: The custom is to bow 5 times during Kaddish by the first 5 Amens.

Chabad Custom: The Chabad custom is to bow by the following areas of Kaddish:

  • Shmei Raba;
  • Vikareiv Mishichei;
  • Veimru Amen;
  • While saying Yihei Shmei Raba until the word Yisbarech. One lifts the head momentarily after saying Veimru Amen and then re-bows it by Yihei Shmei Raba and then lifts it again momentarily after Yisbarech and then re-bows it for…
  • . until the word Viyis-halal. One lifts the head momentarily after saying Viyis-halal and then re-bows it by….
  • Shmei Dekudsha Brich Hu;
  • Veimru Amen. In Kaddish Tiskabel the head is slightly bowed when concluding Veimru Amen of Tiskabel.

How is one to bow during Kaddish? One simply nods his head downwards, and does not bow his entire body as is done during Shemoneh Esrei.

  1. Taking three steps back and bowing by Oseh Shalom of Kaddish:[14]

After the completion of Kaddish [prior to Sim Shalom] the custom is to take three steps back and then recite Oseh Shalom Bimiromav, just as is done at the conclusion of Shemoneh Esrei. One is to bow to his sides upon saying it, as is similarly done by Shemoneh Esrei.

Chabad custom: The Chabad custom is to turn and first bow the head to the right, when saying Oseh Shalom, then to the center when saying Hu, and then to the left while saying Yaaseh Shalom Aleinu, and then to the center when saying Veal Kol Yisarel.

Finish the three steps: One is not to begin saying the words of Oseh Shalom until he completes taking three steps back.

Which foot to move first: Seemingly, one is to move his right foot first and only then his left, just as he first bows to his right.

How is one to bow during Kaddish? One simply nods his head downwards, and does not bow his entire body as is done during Shemoneh Esrei.

To which direction is a lefty to bow first and which foot does he move first by Kaddish? Seemingly, one who is left footed, he is to take three steps back with his left foot first. Likewise, one who is left handed should first bow to his left.

  More than one person saying Kaddish at a time:
  1. May more than one person say Kaddish if there is exactly a Minyan or ten people present?

It is permitted for many people to say Kaddish together even if there will not remain a Minyan to answer Amen. This allowance applies even if the entire Minyan is reciting Kaddish and not even one person remains to answer Amen. Nevertheless, it is best to have at least two persons, or at the very least one person, remaining who will answer Amen to all the other members of the Minyan saying Kaddish.  

  1. When reciting Kaddish together with another person, must all of them recite Kaddish aloud for the congregation to hear?

Some Poskim rule it is not necessary for one to recite Kaddish out loud if another person is saying the Kaddish loudly. Other Poskim however rule it is necessary for every person saying Kaddish to say it out loud so the congregation can hear. Practically, one is to be stringent in this matter.

  1. Must one recite every word in unison when more than one person is saying Kaddish together?

It is not required to recite every single word in unison, although one is to be careful as much as possible to be in close proximity to each other. One who is saying Kaddish fast should slow down for the person saying it slowly.

  1. How is one to answer Amen to Kaddish if more than one person is saying Kaddish and they are not saying it simultaneously?[15]

If they do not conclude the stanzas in Kaddish simultaneously, and there is an interval of Kdei Dibbur between the two conclusions of the blessing, then one is to answer Amen for each conclusion of the stanza. If, however, they conclude within Kdei Dibbur of each other, then one can choose when to answer Amen, either with the first person concluding or the second person concluding, and the Amen counts for them all. Some Poskim however rule that if one person can be clearly heard while the second is at a distance and cannot be heard well, then one is to answer to the person who is closest to him and who he heard clearly.

  How to answer for Kaddish:[16]
  1. Its importance and greatness:[17]

One must be very careful to answer for Kaddish, and one who hears Kaddish and does not answer his sin is very great.

Running to hear Kaddish: One is to run to Shul in order to hear Kaddish.

Is greater than Kedusha: There is a greater mitzvah to answer for Kaddish then there is to recite Kedusha, as the holiness of Kaddish is greater than all the other matters of holiness.

What is one to do if two people are saying Kaddish and they are not on pace? If they are close enough to be within Kdei Dibur [Shalom Aleichem Rebbe- one second] then one can answer for either the first or second person saying it and it counts for both. If, however, they are further apart than this one is to answer for each person separately.

  1. Concentration:[18]

One must pay great attention when he answers Amen Yihei Shemei Raba.

Tearing decrees: Whoever answers Amen Yihei Shemei Raba with all of his strength, Hashem tears his decrees of 70 years.

  1. Hearing the entire Kaddish:[19]

One must listen to the entire Kaddish in order to know to what he is answering Amen.

Answering Amen if one did not hear the Kaddish: If one did not hear the entire Kaddish he may only answer Amen if he knows what he is answering to, meaning that he knows the meaning and the phrase they are up to in Kaddish. Thus, if one enters into Shul and hears Amen he may not say Amen with them if he does not know what they are answering to. However, if he does hear part of the stanza, and hence knows what he is answering Amen to, then he is to answer Amen even though he did not hear the beginning of the Kaddish.

Answering Amen Yihei Shimei Raba if one did not hear the Kaddish: If one enters into Shul and hears them saying Amen Yihei Shimei Raba he may answer Yihei Shimei Raba but not Amen, unless he knows the meaning of the phrase he is answering Amen to.

  1. How loud to answer:[20]

One is to answer Kaddish loudly as doing so kills the heavenly prosecutions and nullifies evil decrees. Nevertheless, one is not to shout it too loud as this can cause others to mock him, which causes them to sin.

  1. No talking:[21]

One is to admonish those who talk during Kaddish even if there is a Minyan aside for him.

Punishment:[22] They once found Eiyahu leading a caravan of 4000 camels with baggage of wrath and anger to give retribution to those who speak during Kaddish between Amen Yihei Shimei Raba and Yisbareich, or between Kadosh and Barchu in Kedusha, or between one blessing and another in Birchas Kerias Shema, or between one paragraph and another in the Shema, or between Kaddish and Barchu.

  1. What to answer:[23]

Brich Hu or Amen:[24] After the stanza of Brich Hu one answers Amen.

Saying Yisbareich: The custom is to answer Yisbareich together with Amen Yihei Shimei Raba.

From after Yisbareich: From after Yisbareich, one remains quiet and listens to the Chazzan saying Kaddish. He should not say it with the chazzan.

  1. How to answer Amen:[25]

Not to delay the Amen: One is not to delay the Amen. Rather, immediately upon the Chazan concluding the stanza of Kaddish he is to answer Amen. So long as majority of the congregation has not yet completed their answering, one may still answer. (Furthermore, according to some opinions , even if majority of the congregation has completed their recital, so long as there are still nine people remaining [who are still answering] it is permitted to answer.)

Chazan is lengthening the Kaddish: If the Chazan is lengthening in melody the recital of the concluding words of Kaddish “Veimru Amen”, then if he is lengthening a lot, the congregation is to recite the Amen immediately [upon him beginning the words Veimru]. 

If did not hear the Chazan: Answering to Kaddish follows the same laws as a blessing that one is not fulfilling his obligation with, and thus one can answer towards it even if he did not hear at all any part of the Kaddish from the Chazan. Nevertheless, in Kaddish, he must have in mind to answer Amen to the statement said by the Chazan as otherwise it is an Amen Yesoma since he did not hear it. Some Poskim rule it suffices to have in mind to answer Amen on the general Kaddish even if he does not know the specific area of Kaddish that the Chazan is holding.

If one is hearing Kaddish from a few different Minyanim, and they are in different places of Kaddish, how is he to answer Amen? One is to answer Amen only for the first person saying Kaddish.

  1. Standing for Kaddish:[26]

The Dispute: Some Poskim rule it is not necessary [for the listeners] to stand during the recital of Kaddish and Barchu. However, other Poskim rule one is required to stand upon answering Kaddish or any Davar Shebekedusha [i.e. a matter that requires a Minyan].

The ruling: Practically, it is proper to suspect for the latter opinion which requires one to stand for Kaddish.

The custom: The Ashkenazi custom is to stand for Kaddish. The custom of Sephardic Jewry is not to stand. 

The Chabad custom: The Rebbe was witnessed to stand for most of the Davening, including the Kaddeishim, and in those times that he was sitting, the Rebbe would stand when the Chazan reached Yihei Shmei Raba.

If one was already standing, may one sit down? Even according to the lenient opinion, in the event that one was already standing prior to the recital of Kaddish, such as after Hallel [or after Yishtabach, Tachanun, Aleinu, and the like], it is good/proper  to remain standing, and not sit down, until after answering Amen Yihei Shmei Raba. According to the stringent opinion, one must remain standing. 

The Chazan: The Chazan, [and any other person reciting Kaddish, according to all opinions] is required to stand for the recital of Kaddish, Barchu, and any other Davar Shebikidusha.

Until where in the Kaddish is one to remain standing?[27] Some Poskim  rule one is to stand until the conclusion of Amen Yihei Shimei Raba. Other Poskim rule one is to stand until after the Amen of Deamiran Bealma. [Practically however, the widespread custom is to stand throughout the entire Kaddish, and so should be followed.  When the Rebbe would stand for Kaddish, he would remain standing until the conclusion of the entire Kaddish.]

  1. Passing in front of the person saying Kaddish:

Just as one may not pass within four Amos in front of one who is in middle of Shemoneh Esreim so too one may not walk in front of someone who is middle of Kaddish.


[1] See Admur 55-56; Nitei Gavriel chapter 41; Ketzos Hashulchan 16; Tefila Kehilchasa 25; Ishei Yisrael 15;  

[2] Admur 55:2; Michaber 55:1; Rambam Tefila 8:4; Mishneh Megillah 23b; Ketzos Hashulchan 15:1

[3] See Admur 55:7; 69; Ketzos Hashulchan 15:2

[4] See Admur 56: 4; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:5

[5] See Admur 55; Birchas Habayis 42:6; Noda Beyehuda Kama E.H. 56; Shevet Halevi 4:14; Piskeiy Teshuvos 55:1

[6] See Admur 55; Birchas Habayis 42:6; Noda Beyehuda Kama E.H. 56; Shevet Halevi 4:14; Piskeiy Teshuvos 55:1

[7] See Admur 55:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:1

[8] Beir Heiytiv 55; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:1

[9] See Admur 54:4; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:2

[10] Beis Lechem Yehuda 376; See the following Sefarim for other areas of pronunciation: Admur 56:3; Nitei Gavriel 42:1-20; Piskeiy Teshuvos 56:1 and 5

[11] See Admur 56:8; Ketzos Hashulchan 7   

[12] Shaareiy Teshuvah 56:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:6

[13] Admur 56:5; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:7

[14] Admur 56:5; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:7

[15] Ketzos Hashulchan 16:3

[16] See Admur 56:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 3

[17] Admur 56:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:3

[18] See Admur 56:2-4; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:4-5

[19] See Admur 56:4; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:5 footnote 12

[20] See Admur 56:2; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:4

[21] See Admur 56:4, 7; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:5

[22] See Admur 56:7; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:6

[23] See Admur 56:6-7; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:6

[24] Siddur Admur; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:6

[25] Admur 124:11

[26] See Admur 56:5; Ketzos Hashulchan 16:6; Kaf Hachaim 56:20-22; Piskeiy Teshuvos 56:4

[27] See Ketzos Hashulchan 16:6 footnote 15

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