Lone Star Sidur Project – Kadish

Today’s examination of the four forms of Kadish and their place and purpose in the service is a departure of sorts from the norm for a Lone Star Sidur Project post. I say this because I’m not offering the text of any form of Kadish because I won’t be referring heavily to the content of Kadish, but more to its structural purpose and role in services. I assume that most people reading this are familiar with Kadish anyway. If you are not familiar with it, Google it. It’s out there. Much of this post has changed since it was first posted due to the comments of readers.

Kadish comes in four forms. It’s most well-known is Kadish Yatom, which, literally translated, is the Orphan’s Kadish, but is more commonly called Mourner’s Kadish. Kadish Yatom is relatively the same size as Kadish Shalem, but some of the ending lines are different. Kadish Yatom does not refer specifically to death. Take from that what you will.

Kadish Shalem, which means Whole Kadish, is used during services to mark major transitions between distinct service sections.

The Chatzi Kadish is a shortened form of Kadish Shalem. It is used to mark minor transitions between service sections.

Kadish D’rabanan is a version of Kadish containing an extended series of lines praying for the good fortune of and praising teachers and students of Torah. It is said upon completing a study session, marking the end of that session, with the understanding that another study session will be had in the future. In the service, it appears in a variety of different places, depending on the choices of individual sidur editors.

All forms of Kadish are written predominantly in Aramaic and are meant to be said only in the presence of a minyan because Kadish is considered a specifically public form of praise.

Growing up with Gates of Prayer, I was only aware of the existence of Chatzi Kadish and Kadish Yatom. GOP’s approach to utilizing Kadish is extremely limited, but consistent. Chatzi Kadish, which GOP translates “Reader’s Kadish” (twenty bucks to anyone who can explain that translation to me!), appears once in every morning and evening service. In morning services it appears in one of its places between P’sukei D’zimrah and Sh’ma Uvirchoteihah. In the evening, it appears between what passes for Kabalat Shabat in GOP and Sh’ma Uvirchoteihah. Kadish Yatom appears at the end of every service. GOP makes no use of Kadish Shalem of Kadish D’rabanan at all.

Mishkan T’filah follows GOP’s example with one exception. MK has reintroduced Kadish D’rabanan. MK’s editors have elected to slip KD in between Morning Blessings and P’sukei D’zimrah. Because MK has reordered the Morning Blessings such that the section on study comes last, KD then serves also in the way that a Chatzi Kadish might, marking the minor transition from Morning Blessings to P’sukei D’zimrah. Although I like the traditional idea of using KD to conclude the Torah study section of Morning Blessings and I like the idea of using a Kadish to divide Morning Blessings from P’sukei D’zimrah, I dislike that MK has combined these two purposes into one by needlessly reordering the Morning Blessings. Haavodah Shebalev (Israeli Reform) follows MK without reordering the Morning Blessings.

The traditional locations of Kadish make little sense to me. Chatzi Kadish is supposed to appear at points of minor transition, yet it only appears at the transitions from P’sukei D’zimrah to Sh’ma Uvirchoteihah, before Maftir, and between the Torah service and Musaf. Kadish Shalem ought to appear at the site of a major transition, yet it only appears at the transition from Shacharit to Torah service and from Musaf to concluding prayers. I am mostly confounded by what seems to be an undefined notion of what major and minor transition points are.

I would keep Kadish mostly in its traditional places, with a few exceptions. I would remove entirely the notion of doing one before Maftir. Absolutely no transition is going there. That is simply the middle of the Torah service and it makes no sense. I would also follow MK’s idea of inserting a Kadish D’rabanan after the study section of the Birchot Hashachar.


12 responses to “Lone Star Sidur Project – Kadish

  1. maybe I missed it in your post… but I thought you were completely forbidding messianic references in your siddur? How can you include any kaddish?

  2. Thanks for keeping me honest as you always do, Ben, but perhaps you’re looking at a Kadish I don’t know about. I see no such references except in the burial Kadish, which I pointedly did not discuss here.

    Perhaps you are referring to the reestablishment of God’s kingdom referred to towards the beginning of Kadish. That is merely a metaphor for the eventual rule of morality, ethics and justice that will engul the world when Eidan Meshichi arrives.

    To be as clear as possible, I’m not against messianic references. I’m all for the word “messianic” in particular, as in “messianic age.” What I don’t like is the personal messiah and resurrection of the dead, etc.

  3. Interesting… what is it about Kaddish that, unlike the rest of liturgy, makes it off-bounds to you for alteration?

    Also, take a look back at Ha’avodah Shebalev – it makes full-use of Kaddish D’rabanan in Birchot Hashachar. This, which MK also reintroduces to Reform audiences, is standard.

  4. There is nothing about Kadish that is any more or less alterable or unalterable than the rest of liturgy. I simply don’t see a need to alter this.

    There is no overt mention of resurrection of the dead, the line of David, or sacrifice. That being the case, I have no need to alter it.

  5. “Reader’s Kadish”

    Interesting. The kaddish that I’ve seen referred to as “reader’s kaddish” in other siddurim is the full kaddish. It’s not a translation, but, like “Mourner’s Kaddish,” or “Burial Kaddish” it’s descriptive of its function. It’s read by the precentor or Torah reader (“reader”). Since Gates of Prayer lacks Kaddish Shalem, they used the functional description “Reader’s Kaddish.”

    Kadish Shalem, which means Whole Kadish, is used during services to mark major transitions between distinct service sections.
    I am mostly confounded by what seems to be an undefined notion of what major and minor transition points are.
    Most specifically, Kaddish shalem ends a major division. Thus, it ends every service before Aleinu, and ends Shacharit after the Amidah or Hallel on days when there’s Musaf. Hatzi kaddish divides and frequently (but not always) begins sections. HK begins Shacharit proper following Pesukei d’zimrah (you can’t have a kaddish at shacharit before the Amidah, because it would separate גאל ישראל from the Amidah), begins the Amidah in Mincha, Maariv, and Musaf; it also acts as a minor division of Shacharit, ending Torah reading, and beginning it when there is no Musaf.

    Recall that “beginning” and “ending” has to be viewed in the historical context of the development (and lengthening) of the service. Pesukei d’zimrah as part of the synagogue service was a later addition, and birchot hashachar (as a part of the communal service) was even later. On a weekday, excluding the Mon/Thurs Torah reading, everything after tachanun (including the text of tachanun itself) is also later.

    Kadish Yatom does not refer specifically to death
    Some earlier versions of the Reform siddur (going back to the 19th century) tried to fix that by adding a paragraph על ישראל ועל צדיקיא into the Mourner’s Kaddish. It was mercifully removed.

  6. davidamwilensky

    Thanks Elf’s DH!

  7. David,
    I’ve been reading some of your posts here and also on iWorship, and I just want to clarify some of your misconceptions.

    1. Liturgy has and will always change. As my liturgy professor has said multiple times, ChaZaL (the Rabbis of old) fixed: Sh’ma and its Blessings and the Amidah. Within the Amidah, only the topics, not the words themselves, were established. Beyond that, everything has been added. ArtScroll is just one in a long line of siddurim. Yes, it happens to be useful for learning some new things about prayer and prayers, but it’s just one formulation — not THE formulation. The Koren and Rinat Yisrael siddurim retain classical liturgy without the indocrination of ArtScroll. Koren is the most nicely laid out.

    2. Agreed, I don’t like all of the changes in MT, but I recognize that this siddur is not meant for me alone but for all Reform Jews. Something that I connect to may not be what someone else connects to. When there’s such a wide range of practice and identity, this is the best possible siddur for meeting most of the population at least some of the time.

    3. The magazine-like format is only because it’s a draft. The final product is hard-cover, so the floppy pages won’t be a problem.

    4. Optional tzitzit paragraph: You can’t change an entire movement overnight. Some congregants and some rabbis (and probably more than just some) are going to resist the addition of those lines. The difference between that and the t’fillin line is more practical than ideological — it’s 1 part of a line within a text that is otherwise un-problematic for Reform ideology vs. an entire segment of a text that was problematic. I also don’t like that the 2nd paragraph was left out, but the movement is changing. Maybe the next siddur or version will include it.

    5. “Shomreinu” is not an anomoly. There are other places where “malkeinu” or “avinu” are replaced with less gendered terms. “Avinu” is replaced with “yotzreinu” (our creator) at least once.

    6. Demanding anything from a siddur, especially consistency which there never was, is a waste of energy, which could be better spent getting to know the siddur and finding meaning in what’s there.

    7. Nissim B’Chol Yom are reordered according to Maimonides, as stated in every draft of MT.

    8. Eilu D’varim is exactly as it is in Gemara.

    9. The number of pages dedicated to Sh’ma has been reduced. But as one of the central parts of our service, especially in the Reform Movement, shouldn’t it get a little more space?

    10. Respect for the amount of time and effort put into this siddur of the thousands of congregants and rabbis who piloted and commented on this siddur should be given. When you write things like, “If a camel is a horse created by committee, this sidur is a camel,” you essentially disrespect that effort.

    Side note because I love Hebrew grammar: Transliteration is based on Hebrew grammar. “Siddur” is written with 2 “d”s because the structure includes a doubled middle letter.

    Happy Chanukkah!

  8. davidamwilensky

    1. I know liturgy changes. If you visit the various Lone Star Project posts on this blog you’ll see that I’m a big advocate of change. However, I advocate changes made for specific, cogent, explicable reasons. When Birchot Hashachar is reordered, I must wonder why. And if there is not answer, then why did it happen?
    I am no ArtScroll cheering section. I hate their monopoly on the uninformed.

    2. Agreed. Larry asked if people had heard any negative comments. I had some, so chimed in.

    3. I don’t mean the floppiness. I know that’s because it’s a draft. I dislike the size and the nearly square shape. It is hard to hold while standing up and shuckling. No one have heart attacks. Some Reformim schuckle.

    4. I realize that. Again, I was really just giving Larry a laundry list of my problems with MT and that was one.

    5. I don’t think my draft has yotzreinu. Where is that?

    6. What I want from liturgsits is some attempt to make ideological changes made consistent. Why change something in one way in one place, but not change the same thing in another?

    7. My apologies. I seem to have missed that commetn somehow.

    8. That is totally incorrect. Check again.

    9. No. The Amidah was (and in my opinion, is) the central part of services for ages. Did they print it in larger type? No.

    10. I guess so.

    Side note: Fair enough. To me though, what is most important in transliterating is making things as easily and correctly pronouncable as possible. Since the dagesh in the dalet makes no difference as far as pronounciation goes, I tend to leave out the extra d. By your logic, bayit should be spelled bbayit.

  9. Kadish Shalem ought to appear at the site of a major transition, yet it only appears at the transition from Shacharit to Torah service and from Musaf to concluding prayers.

    In particular, the “titkabal” line in kaddish shaleim refers to the amidah that was just said, and therefore kaddish shaleim appears once after each amidah. (This is why when an extra kaddish shaleim is added, e.g. after megillah reading on Purim and Tisha B’Av evenings, the “titkabal” line is left out.)

    Thanks for keeping me honest as you always do, Ben, but perhaps you’re looking at a Kadish I don’t know about.

    The Nusach Sefarad version also has a more explicit messianic reference.

    Since the dagesh in the dalet makes no difference as far as pronounciation goes, I tend to leave out the extra d. By your logic, bayit should be spelled bbayit.

    The dageish in siddur (or Shabbat) is a dageish chazak (indicating a doubling of the letter), while the dageish in bayit is a dageish kal (merely indicating that it’s pronounced b and not v).

  10. davidamwilensky

    Thank you, BZ. Your comments are always much appreciated.

  11. Thanks for your post illuminating Kaddish. I know when I was growing up in the Reform movement I dditn’t much of this.

    And now I am older and have taken a different path, infomred by my early years. As Kaddish has new meaning to me as well.

    Morners Kaddish is about the real loss, the inevitable loss we experience as humans when we lose a loved one. My blog, Kaddish Journal is an online journal about real experiences, real people, real loss. Feel free to come look, read, write, and share.

  12. Thanks for you comments, Joshua. I will definitely check that out.

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