A Few Kaddish Laws

By: R’ Yochanan Schnall


The Four Types of Kadish

Half Kadish
  • The half kadish is recited by a chazzan to connect parts of davening.
  •  Examples are kadish before borchu, after tachanun or reading from the Torah
    (on Shabbos mincha instead of kadish by the Torah reading, it is recited after the Torah is returned before shemoneh esrei).
  • The chazzan should not recite this kadish until a minyan of men recited at least part of whatever precedes it. For example, if there wasn’t a minyan at the beginning of mincha, the chazzan must wait for them to recite a few pesukim of ashrei.

Mourner’s Kadish
  • This is similar to the half kaddish with two additional segments .
  • It was instituted for those who are incapable of leading davening. It may be recited by someone under bar mitzvah.
  • It is recited after supplemental parts of davening and it does not need to be said when no-one present is currently in mourning.
    Note: The kadish which follows עלינו is the exception to this and it should always be recited if there is someone available to recite it.
  • It is not recited by one whose parents are both alive.

Full Kadish
  • This has the same text as the Mourner’s kadish with an additional supplication of תתקבל. This is a request that Hashem accepts our prayers.
  • It is recited by the chazan who has lead the shemone esrei.
    Even if someone else takes over to recite hallel, the chazzan who led shemone esrey should recite this kadish.

Rabbi’s Kadish
  • This kadish is recited after public Torah study of at least a minyan.
  • The Gemara in סוטה מט. says that קדיש דרבנן is what keeps the world from collapsing. Rashi explains its significance stems from people gathering together to study Torah and then are מקדש שם שמים
  • It is similar to the mourner’s kadish with an additional prayer on behalf of those who study Torah.
  • According to most opinions it is not enough to have a minyan at the time of kadish but they must have also recited or studied the prayer.
  • This is why the חזן recites the last piece of R’ Yishmael and a יהי רצון before reciting the kadish at the beginning of shacharis and a teacher might say ר חנניה בן עקשיא וכו’.
  • This kadish may be recited by anyone. It is customarily recited by the one who taught or made the siyum.
  • Of course one may answer to this kaddish even though he/ she didn’t participate in the study or prayer


Reciting Kadish

  • One must have his feet together while reciting kadish.
  • It must be said loud enough for at least ten men to hear it.
    When there are a few saying it at the same time it is questionable if one may say it quietly along with a “leader”.
  • While reciting kadish one should wait until the majority of the audience have finished responding before resuming with kadish.
    • If a chazzan/ mourner does not wait before resuming the audience should not respond so that they may hear all that is being said.
      (This law applies to all other blessings as well.)


Who is Included in a Minyan

  • There must be ten men present to recite kadish. Four of these could be davening and unable to answer. (This may not be permitted by חזרת הש”ץ)
    • Ideally there should be at least nine participants (one leader and eight responders).
  • One who is entirely uninvolved (such as he is sleeping ) is allowable in extenuating circumstances. Try to wake him up.
  • A child is trusted to say that he is over בר מצוה to be included for a minyan
  • People who are תינוקות שנשבו may be included in a minyan. Extreme sensitivity must be shown to those in this situation.
    • Nonetheless, if one has a choice of two minyanim and one relies on מחללי שבת בפרהתיא it is better to daven in the one that doesn’t.



  •  In general, one should stand for kadish until the דאמירן בעלמא (the one that follows יש”ר) or at least until after יש”ר.
  • It is always important to pay attention to what the reader is saying and to what one is responding amein to.
    •  If one didn’t hear the leader/ mourner but can figure it out, he may respond אמן.
    • One who does not know what the אמן is a response to should not respond.
  • One must respond אמן within two seconds of what it pertains to. However, if the congregation is still reciting אמן one may join with them even after two seconds.

אמן יהא שמיה רבא

  • The most important response in kadish is איש”ר
  • One who answers יהא שמיה רבא wholeheartedly and with complete focus will merit a cancellation of any decree against him. To this end one should say it loud in order to encourage such concentration but not too loud that he will become a mockery
  • Saying איש”ר is more important than kedusha or borchu. However if one is in the middle of reciting kedusha one should only recite יש”ר if he is not in the middle of saying the sentence “kadosh kadosh … melo kol haaretz kevodo”.
  • One who enters a minyan and hears the congregation responding איש”ר should only recite the complete response if he hears them saying אמן. If he does not hear them saying אמן he should join them beginning with the words יהא שמיה רבא (omitting אמן)
  • One who is late should run in order not to miss responding אמן יהא שמיה רבא.


Interesting Circumstances

  • One may respond to kadish and kedusha even if he is a distance from the minyan and hears them but cannot see them. This is because the שכינה rests on a מנין and even a steel wall does not separate an individual who wishes to connect with the שכינה.
    It is questionable if one is obligated to answer under this circumstance or if it is optional .
  • When a few mourners recite kadish at the same time and do not conclude אמן together
    • If they conclude within two seconds of each other one recites אמן just one time after either kadish.
    • If there is more than a two second delay between them then one should recite אמן after each one independently.
  • When one is davening in one minyan and he hears kadish recited by a different minyan, responding to it is optional.
  • One who is in the middle of putting on his תפילין may not interrupt whatsoever between the של יד and של ראש. When in this circumstance, one should pause and think the responses.
    • If it is possible to fasten the של יד without wrapping around the arm seven times and immediately put on the של ראש, one should do this in order to be able to respond
  • In anticipation of Yom Tov, it is a good idea to spend a few minutes and find a good machzor. Taking the time
    to find one that appeals to you can make all the difference for meaningful Rosh Hashanah davening
  • Remember to buy the different symbolic foods that are customarily eaten on Rosh Hashanah evening (see
    your machzor for a list of them). Additionally, be sure to obtain a new fruit, which will be used on the second
    night of Rosh Hashanah.


[1] מ”ב קכ”ד ל”ז

[1] רמ”א קכ”ד ח’ ומ”ב ס”ק ל”ג

          ומוכרח מס”ק ל”ה שדינים אלו שייכים גם לקדיש

[1]ח’  מ”ב קכ”ה

[1] מ”ב נ”ו ט’

[1] מחבר נ”ו א’

[1] (חזו”א)

[1] (רשז”א) [1] מ”ב כ”ה ל”ח

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