Kaddish (Introduction)

Composed in Aramaic, the lingua franca of ancient Judaic culture so that all would understand what they were saying, Kaddish is believed to have originated during our exile in Bavel.  There are five versions of Kaddish.  Each Kaddish, for comparison purposes, is included in this introduction, with unique verbiage for each in italics.

Recited in its various forms at least 13 times during a traditional service, Kaddish serves as a transitional vehicle as we journey through the service’s prayers and studies.  Similar to steps in a staircase or to rungs of a ladder, each Kaddish marks our progress as we ascend to and return from the Amida, the Standing Prayer during which we commemorate the Temple sacrifices, the pinnacle of the synagogue service.  A minyan is required in order to say Kaddish.

As we encounter each Kaddish during our journey through the Siddur we will focus on the language specific to each.  Our attention is presently on the language common to all versions of Kaddish. 

Every Kaddish begins, יתגדל ויתקדש שמה רבא which is translated, “[great and] Holy His Name.”  When translated into Old English we encounter the familiar, “Hallowed be Thy Name” which brings to mind the Lord’s Prayer, echoed by the congregation’s response, “May His great Name be blessed for ever and all time.”

Kaddish is our proclamation that HaShem’s name was, is, and will ever be holy and blessed; we acknowledge that His Name will never be erased or diminished.  We are beckoned to feel how all of creation is permeated with G-dliness, transcending all levels of creation, all worlds, all ages, all eternities, all levels of awareness both within and beyond time/space.

Ḥatzi Kaddish (Half Kaddish)

Magnified and sanctified may His great name be, in the world He created by His will.  May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of all the house of Israel, swiftly and soon – and say: Amein.

            May His great name be blessed for ever and all time.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, raised and honored, uplifted and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond any blessing, song, praise and consolation uttered in the world – and say: Amein.

Kaddish Shalem (Full Kaddish)

Magnified and sanctified may His great name be, in the world He created by His will.  May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of all the house of Israel, swiftly and soon – and say: Amein.

            May His great name be blessed for ever and all time.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, raised and honored, uplifted and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond any blessing, song, praise and consolation uttered in the world – and say: Amen.

May the prayers and pleas of all Israel be accepted by their Father in Heaven – and say: Amein.

May there be great peace from heaven, and life for us and all Israel – and say: Amein.

May He who makes peace in His high places, make peace for us and all Israel – and say: Amein.

Kaddish d’Rabbanan (Rabbis’ Kaddish)

Magnified and sanctified may His great name be, in the world He created by His will.  May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of all the house of Israel, swiftly and soon – and say: Amein.

            May His great name be blessed for ever and all time.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, raised and honored, uplifted and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond any blessing, song, praise and consolation uttered in the world – and say: Amein.

To Israel, to the teachers, their disciples and their disciples’ disciples, and to all who engage in the study of Torah, in this (in Israel add: holy) place or elsewhere, may there come to them and you great peace, grace, kindness and compassion, long life, ample sustenance and deliverance, from their Father in Heaven – and say:  Amein.

May there be great peace from heaven, and (good) life for us and all Israel – and say: Amein.

May He who makes peace in His high places, make peace for us and all Israel – and say: Amein.

Kaddish Eḥar Hakvurah (Burial Kaddish)

Magnified and sanctified may His great name be, in the world that will in future be renewed, reviving the dead and raising them up to eternal life. 

He will rebuild the city of Jerusalem and in it re-establish His Temple. 

He will remove alien worship from the earth and restore to its place the worship of Heaven. 

Then the Holy One, blessed be He, will reign in His sovereignty and splendor. 

May it be in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of all the house of Israel, swiftly and soon – and say Amein.

            May His great name be blessed for ever and all time.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, raised and honored, uplifted and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond any blessing, song, praise and consolation uttered in the world – and say: Amein.

May there be great peace from heaven, and life for us and all Israel – and say: Amein.

May He who makes peace in His high places, make peace for us and all Israel – and say: Amein.

Kaddish Yatom (Mourners’ Kaddish)

Magnified and sanctified may His great name be, in the world He created by His will.  May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of all the house of Israel, swiftly and soon – and say: Amein.

            May His great name be blessed for ever and all time.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, raised and honored, uplifted and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond any blessing, song, praise and consolation uttered in the world – and say: Amein.

May there be great peace from heaven, and life for us and all Israel – and say: Amein.

May He who makes peace in His high places, make peace for us and all Israel – and say: Amein.

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