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Kaddish or Qaddish or Qadish (Imperial Aramaic: קדיש "holy") is a hymn praising God that is recited during Jewish prayer services. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God's name. In the liturgy, different versions of the Kaddish are functionally chanted or sung as separators of the different sections of the service.
The term Kaddish is often used to refer specifically to "The Mourner's Kaddish," which is chanted as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services, as well as at funerals (other than at the gravesite; see Kaddish acher kevurah "Qaddish after Burial") and memorials; for 11 Hebrew months after the death of a parent; and in some communities for 30 days after the death of a spouse, sibling, or child. When mention is made of "saying Kaddish", this often refers to the rituals of mourning. Mourners recite Kaddish to show that despite the loss they still praise God.
Along with the Shema Yisrael and the Amidah, the Kaddish is one of the most important and central elements in the Jewish liturgy. Kaddish is not, traditionally, recited alone. Along with some other prayers, it traditionally can only be recited with a minyan of ten Jews (a minimum quorum of ten adult Jews).
The various versions of the Kaddish are:
All versions of the Kaddish begin with the Hatzi Kaddish (there are some extra passages in the Kaddish after a burial or a siyum). The longer versions contain additional paragraphs, and are often named after distinctive words in those paragraphs.
Historically there existed another type of Kaddish, called Qaddish Yahid ("Individual's Kaddish"). 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. It is not recited in modern times.
The Half Kaddish is used to punctuate divisions within the service: for example, before Barechu, after 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 a prayer service, though in later times extra passages and hymns were added to follow it.
The following includes the half, complete, mourner's and rabbi's kaddish. The variant lines of the kaddish after a burial or a siyum are given below.
|#||English translation||Transliteration||Aramaic / Hebrew|
|1||Exalted and sanctifiedb be His great namea||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 nearad||[Veyatzmaḥ purqaneh viqarev (qetz) meshiḥeh]||וְיַצְמַח פֻּרְקָנֵהּ וִיקָרֵב(קיץ) מְשִׁיחֵהּ|
|5||During your lifetime and during your days||Beḥayeikhon uvyomeikhon||בְּחַיֵּיכוֹן וּבְיוֹמֵיכוֹן|
|6||And during the lifetimes of all the House of Israel,||Uvḥaye dekhol [bet] yisrael||וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל [בֵּית] יִשְׂרָאֵל|
|7||Speedily and very soon! And say, Amen.a||Baʻagala 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||Yehei shmeih rabba mevorakh||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 veyishtabbaḥ veyitpa'ar veyitromam||יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרוֹמַם|
|11||Extolled and honoured, adored and lauded||Veyitnasse veyithaddar veyitʻalleh veyithallal||וְיִתְנַשֵּׂא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל|
|12||Be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He,a||Shmeh dequdsha berikh 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 tushbeḥata veneḥemata||וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא|
|15||That are uttered in the world! And say, Amen.a||Da'amiran beʻalma veʼimru amen||דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן|
|The half kaddish ends here.|
|Here the "complete kaddish" includes:|
|16||eMay the prayers and supplications||Titqabbal tzelotehon uvaʻutehon||תִּתְקַבַּל צְלוֹתְהוֹן וּבָעוּתְהוֹן|
|17||Of all Israel||D'khol (bet) yisrael||דְכָל (בֵּית) יִשְׂרָאֵל|
|18||Be accepted by their Father who is in Heaven; And say, Amen.a||Qodam avuhon di bishmayya, vʼimru amen||קֳדָם אֲבוּהוֹן דִּי בִשְׁמַיָּא וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן|
|Here the "kaddish of the rabbis" (including the kaddish after a siyum) includes:|
|19||To Israel, to the Rabbis and their disciples||ʻal yisrael veʻal rabbanan veʻal talmideihon||עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל רַבָּנָן וְעַל תַּלְמִידֵיהוֹן|
|20||To the disciples of their disciples,||V'ʻal kol talmidei talmideihon||וְעַל כָּל תַּלְמִידֵי תַלְמִידֵיהוֹן.|
|21||And to all those who engage in the study of the Torah||Veʻal kol man deʻos'qin b'orayta||וְעַל כָּל מָאן דְּעָסְקִין בְּאוֹרַיְתָא.|
|22||In this [holy]z place or in any other place,||Di b'atra [qadisha] haden vedi bekhol atar v'atar||דִּי בְאַתְרָא [קַדִישָא] הָדֵין וְדִי בְּכָל אֲתַר וַאֲתַר.|
|23||May there come abundant peace,||Y'hei lehon ul'khon sh'lama rabba||יְהֵא לְהוֹן וּלְכוֹן שְׁלָמָא רַבָּא|
|24||Grace, lovingkindness and compassion, long life||Hinna v'ḥisda v'raḥamei v'ḥayyei arikhei||חִנָּא וְחִסְדָּא וְרַחֲמֵי וְחַיֵּי אֲרִיכֵי|
|25||Ample sustenance and salvation||Um'zone r'viḥe ufurqana||וּמְזוֹנֵי רְוִיחֵי וּפוְּרְקָנָא|
|26||From the Father who is in heaven (and earth);||Min qodam avuhon di vishmayya [v'ʼarʻa]e||מִן קֳדָם אֲבוּהוּן דְבִשְׁמַיָּא [וְאַרְעָא]|
|27||And say, Amen.a||V'ʼimru amen||וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן|
|All variants but the half kaddish conclude:|
|28||fMay there be abundant peace from heaven,||Yehe shelama rabba min shemayya||יְהֵא שְׁלָמָה רַבָּא מִן שְׁמַיָּא,|
|29||[And] [good] life||[Ve]hayyim [tovim]||[וְ]חַיִּים [טוֹבִים]|
|30||Satisfaction, help, comfort, refuge,||Vesava vishuʻa veneḥama veshezava||וְשָֹבָע וִישׁוּעָה וְנֶחָמָה וְשֵׁיזָבָה|
|31||Healing, redemption, forgiveness, atonement,||Urfuʼa ugʼulla usliha v'khappara||וּרְפוּאָה וּגְאֻלָּה וּסְלִיחָה וְכַפָּרָה,|
|32||Relief and salvationd||Verevaḥ vehatzala||וְרֵוַח וְהַצָּלָה|
|33||[For us and for all his people] upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen.a||[Lanu ulkhol ʻammo] ʻalainu v'al kol yisrael v'ʼimru amen||[לָנוּ וּלְכָל עַמּוֹ] עׇלֵינוּ וְעַל כׇּל יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן.|
|34||fMay He who makes peace in His high places||ʻoseh shalom bimromav||עוֹשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו,|
|35||Grant [in his mercy]g peace upon us||Hu [berakhamav] yaʻase shalom ʻalenu||הוּא [בְּרַחֲמָיו] יַעֲשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ,|
|36||And upon all [his nation]h Israel; and say, Amen.a||V'ʻal kol [ammo] yisra'el, v'ʼimru amen||וְעַל כָּל [עַמּוֹ] יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן.|
In the burial kaddish, and that after a siyum according to Ashkenazim,i, lines 2-3 are replaced by:
|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||Ulʼaḥaya metaya||וּלְאַחֲיָאָה מֵתַיָא|
|39||And raise them to eternal life||Ulʼassaqa yathon l'ḥayye ʻal'ma||וּלְאַסָּקָא יָתְהוֹן לְחַיֵּי עָלְמָא|
|40||And rebuild the city of Jerusalem||Ul'mivne qarta dirush'lem||וּלְמִבְנֵא קַרְתָּא דִירוּשְׁלֵם|
|41||And complete His temple there||Uleshakhlala hekhlehh b'gavvah||וּלְשַׁכְלָלָא הֵיכְלֵהּ בְּגַוַּהּ|
|42||And uproot foreign worship from the earth||Ulmeʻqar pulḥana nukhraʼa m'arʻa||וּלְמֶעְקַר פֻּלְחָנָא נֻכְרָאָה מְאַרְעָא|
|43||And restore Heavenly worship to its position||Ulaʼatava pulḥana dishmayya l'ʼatreh||וּלַאֲתָבָא פֻּלְחָנָא דִשְׁמַיָּא לְאַתְרֵהּ|
|44||And may the Holy One, blessed is He,||V'yamlikh qudsha b'rikh hu||וְיַמְלִיךְ קֻדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא|
|45||Reign in His sovereign splendour ...||B'malkhuteh viqareh||בְּמַלְכוּתֵהּ וִיקָרֵהּ|
In some recent non-Orthodox prayerbooks, for example, the American Reform Machzor, line 36 is replaced with:
|36||All Israel, and all who dwell on earth; and let us say: Amen.||V'al kol isra'el, v'al kol yoshve tevel; v'imru: Amen.||וְעַל כָּל יִשְֹרָאֵל וְעַל כָּל יוֺשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן|
This effort to extend the reach of Oseh Shalom to non-Jews is said to have been started by the British Liberal Jewish movement in 1967, with the introduction of v'al kol bnai Adam ("and upon all humans"); these words continue to be used by some in the UK.
The opening words of the Kaddish are inspired by Ezekiel 38:23's vision of God becoming great in the eyes of all the nations.
The central line of the Kaddish is the congregation's response: יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא (Yǝhē šmēh rabbā mǝvārakh lǝʿālam u-lʿalmē ʿālmayyā, "May His great name be blessed for ever, and to all eternity"), a public declaration of God's greatness and eternality. This response is similar to the wording of Daniel 2:20. It is also parallel to the Hebrew "ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד" (commonly recited after the first verse of the Shema); Aramaic versions of both יה שמה רבה and ברוך שם כבוד appear in the various versions of Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to Genesis 49:2 and Deuteronomy 6:4.
The Mourners, Rabbis and Complete Kaddish end with a supplication for peace ("Oseh Shalom..."), which is in Hebrew, and is somewhat similar to the Tanakh Job 25:2.
Kaddish does not contain God's name. It is said that this is because Kaddish has 26 words, equalling the gematria of the Lord's name itself (יהוה), and the Kaddish text proves that from the very beginning with words "May His great name be exalted and sanctified".
Kaddish may be spoken or chanted. In services on certain special occasions, it may be sung to special melodies. 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. Many mourners recite Kaddish slowly and contemplatively.
In Sephardi synagogues the whole congregation sits for Kaddish, except:
In Ashkenazi synagogues, the custom varies. Very commonly, in both Orthodox and Reform congregations, everyone stands for the mourner's kaddish; but in some (especially many Conservative and Sephardic) 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 Mourner's Kaddish is often treated differently from the other variations of Kaddish in the service, as is the Half Kaddish before the maftir.
Those standing to recite Kaddish bow, by widespread tradition, at various places. Generally: At the first word of the prayer, at each Amen, at Yitbarakh, at Brikh hu, and for the last verse (Oseh shalom). For Oseh shalom it is customary to take three steps back (if possible) then bow to one's left, then to one's right, and finally bow forward, as if taking leave of the presence of a king, in the same way as when the same words are used as the concluding line of the Amidah.
According to the original Ashkenazic custom, as well as the Yemenite custom, one mourner recites each Kaddish, and the Halachic authorities set down extensive rules to determine who has priority for each kaddish. In most (but not all) Ashkenazic communities, they have adopted the Sephardic custom to allow multiple mourners to recite Kaddish together.
Masekhet Soferim, an eighth-century compilation of Jewish laws regarding the preparation of holy books and public reading, states (Chapter 10:7) that Kaddish may be recited only in the presence of a minyan (a quorum of at least 10 men in Orthodox Judaism or 10 adults in Reform and Conservative Judaism). While the traditional view is that "If kaddish is said in private, then by definition it is not kaddish," some alternatives have been suggested, including the Kaddish L'yachid ("Kaddish for an individual"), attributed to ninth-century Gaon Amram bar Sheshna, and the use of kavanah prayer, asking heavenly beings to join with the individual "to make a minyan of both Earth and heaven". In some Reform congregations, a minyan is not required for recitation of the Kaddish, but other Reform congregations disagree and believe that the Kaddish should be said publicly.
"The Kaddish is in origin a closing doxology to an Aggadic discourse." 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.
Professor Yoel Elitzur, however, argues that the Kaddish was originally written in Hebrew, and later translated to Aramaic to be better understood by the masses. He notes that quotations from the Kaddish in the Talmud and Sifrei are in Hebrew, and that even today some of the words are Hebrew rather than Aramaic.
The oldest version of the Kaddish is found in the Siddur of Rab Amram Gaon, c. 900. "The first mention of mourners reciting 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 Mourner's Kaddish (literally, "Orphan's Kaddish")."
The Kaddish was not always recited by mourners and instead became a prayer for mourners sometime between the 12th and 13th centuries when it started to be associated with a medieval legend about Rabbi Akiva who meets a dead man seeking redemption in the afterlife. 
Elitzur made an attempt at reconstructing the theorized original Hebrew version of Kaddish:
Rabbi David Bar-Hayim also attempted a reconstruction:
See also: Bereavement in Judaism
Mourner's Kaddish is said in most communities at all prayer services and certain other occasions. It is written in Aramaic. 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. In most communities, Kaddish is recited eleven months after the death of a parent, and then at every anniversary of the death (the Yahrzeit). Technically, there is no obligation to recite Kaddish for other relatives, even though there is an obligation to mourn for them.
Customs for reciting the Mourner's 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 before the 19th century, one mourner was chosen to lead the prayer on behalf of the rest, but gradually over the last two centuries, most (but certainly not all) communities have adopted the Sephardi custom. In many Reform synagogues, the entire congregation recites the Mourner's 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 and in support of the mourners. In some congregations (especially Reform and Conservative ones), the Rabbi reads a list of the deceased 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, especially Orthodox and Conservative ones, multiply the number of times that the Mourner's Kaddish is recited, for example by reciting a separate Mourner's Kaddish after both Aleinu and then each closing Psalm. Other synagogues limit themselves to one Mourner's Kaddish at the end of the service.
Notably, the Mourner's 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 Malei Rachamim", which specifically prays for the soul of the deceased. The Mourner's Kaddish can be more accurately represented as an expression of "justification for judgment" by the mourners on their loved ones' behalf. It is believed that mourners adopted this version of the Kaddish around the 13th century during harsh persecution of Jews by crusaders in Germany because of the opening messianic line about God bringing the dead back to life (though this line is not in many modern versions).
There is evidence of some women saying the Mourner's Kaddish for their parents at the grave, during shiva, and in daily prayers since the 17th century. Rabbi Yair Bacharach concluded that technically a woman can recite the Mourner's Kaddish, but concludes that since this is not the common practice, it should be discouraged. As such, women reciting kaddish is controversial in Orthodox communities, and it is almost unheard of in Haredi communities. Nevertheless, Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik ruled that in our time, we should permit women to say Kaddish, and this is a common (but by no means universal) practice in Modern Orthodox circles. In 2013 the Israeli Orthodox rabbinical organization Beit Hillel issued a halachic ruling that women may say the Kaddish in memory of their deceased parents. In Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Judaism, the Mourner's Kaddish is traditionally said by women who are also counted in the minyan.
The Kaddish has been a particularly common theme and reference point in the arts, including the following:
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