ḲADDISH (lit. "holy"):

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.

  • 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.
A. K.—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.

  • 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.
A. J. D. E.—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).

  • 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;
  • 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.
A. F. L. C.ḲADDISH (La Despidida)ḲADDISH (After the Pentateuchal Lesson—Sabbath)ḲADDISH (After the Pentateuchal Lesson—Festival)ḲADDISH (After the Pentateuchal Lesson—Penitential)ḲADDISH (Penitential Musaf)