Reciting the Kaddish De’Rabbanan in a Virtual Minyan Under Extraordinary Circumstances

1. Introduction

Due to the rapid spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), most of the synagogues in Israel and worldwide have shut their doors. The most effective way to combat the spread of this virus is through “social distancing.” Given that, by definition, synagogues are places for gathering and drawing closer to people, they have become places of high risk at this time. There is great uncertainty about the future, and no one knows how long the current state of affairs – which is still getting gradually (or perhaps exponentially) worse – will continue. What is most certain is that the need to maintain social distancing will continue at least for the next several months, and that means the synagogues will necessarily remain closed.

     This situation raises many questions, but below I will treat two aspects of the topic: the communal aspect and the personal aspect. It is hard to conceive circumstances in which communal prayer will cease being a feature of Jewish life, and it appears that Jewish history can offer no precedent for this. Prayer in the synagogue – the Temple in miniature (mikdash me’at) – communal and even private, has much virtuous value, considering its being the center of the people’s service to God. Especially during such difficult times for Am Yisrael and for all humanity, being prevented from gathering for communal prayer hurts and is sorrowful.

     What is more, while the current situation is challenging for many accustomed to joining in regular communal prayer, it causes even more grief for those in mourning. Reciting kaddish for departed relatives is important both for the living and for the dead. Many are they who sacrifice much to be able to recite kaddish on behalf of their loved ones during each of the daily prayers. The thought they will not be able to do this is most painful.

     The halakhic definition of “communal” is ten adult males gathered to one place, i.e., the minyan: “Rabbi Chiyya bar Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan, Because the Torah says, But I will be hallowed among the Israelites (Leviticus 22:32), [it means that] every act of sanctification requires no less than ten.[1] Technological advances, particularly those used by social networking, allow humanity multiple new ways to communicate and to congregate. Is there then any halakhic value to congregational prayer taking place virtually via some internet meeting connection? And were we to say that there is value in this, would it allow for people to recite those “acts of sanctification,” those devarim shebikedushah, needing ten – like kaddish – in a virtual minyan? Below, we will primarily focus on the recitation of kaddish de’rabbanan.                  

2 The Value of Kaddish

There are variant opinions if kaddish as we know it today was enacted during the period of the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah (early Second Temple period) or maybe as late as the era of the Geonim (early medieval period). Either way, the essence of kaddish and its heart – the recitation of yehei shemeih rabbah, “May God’s great name…” – appears in the teachings of the Sages. The Sages ascribed virtuous value to the kaddish as a means of rescuing oneself from divine retribution: 

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, Anyone who responds Amen; Yehei shemeih rabbah mevarakh, “Amen; may God’s great name be blessed,” with all his might (Rashi: with all the intent he can muster), they tear his verdict up, as it is said, When punishments are annulled in Israel, when the people offer themselves [to] bless God (Judges 5:2) – What is the reason for when punishments are annulled? It is because they bless God.[2]

     What is more, in another midrash appearing in the Talmud it is claimed that the world continues to exist despite the retributions inflicted upon it due to its sins in the merit of the recitation of the kaddish:

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua, Since the day the Temple was destroyed, no day passes without there being some [form of] curse. Rava said, Each day [brings] a curse greater than that of the previous one, as it is said, In the morning you will say, would that it were evening, and in the evening you will say, would that it were morning (Deuteronomy 28:67). . . . So why is it that the world continues to exist? [It continues to exist because of the people’s study of] the kedushah de’sidra and the yehei shemeih rabbah after the study of aggadah, as it is said, A land whose blackness is like the gloom of the shadow of death, with no orderly systems [of study] (Job 10:22) –  But if there are orderly systems of study, the [land will then] appear from out of the darkness.[3]

According to this midrash, two practices sustain the world following the destruction of the Temple – the “kedushah de’sidra,” a reference to the kedushah studied as part of the section beginning with uva letzion,[4] and “the kaddish recited after the study of aggadah,” also known as the kaddish de’rabbanan. The verse in Job, used by this midrash, brings to mind the changes in the world we are currently experiencing through hurt and worry: A land whose blackness is like the gloom of the shadow of death, with no orderly systems, and whose luster is like gloom. This all serves to only strengthen the question with which we opened – how can one imagine that the Jews will need to go for an extended period of time without reciting this kaddish, especially at a time when the world needs it so?

     There is another midrash that expresses this concept even more strongly:

Rabbi Yishmael said, Sasnegir Sar HaPanim said to me, ‘My friend, sit on my lap and I will tell you what will be with the Jews.’

     I sat on his lap and he looked at me and cried, tears flowing from his eyes and falling on me. I said to him, ‘My splendid radiance, why are your crying?’

     He said to me, ‘Come. I will take you in and let you know what lies in store for the Jews . . .’

      He took the record books and opened [them], and showed me written notices of assorted troubles. . . .

     I asked him, ‘Will the Jews be able to endure them?’ . . .

     He said to me, ‘Every day even harsher decrees are [pronounced] upon them, but since the Jews enter the synagogues and houses of study, and respond, amen; yehei shemeih rabbah mevarakh le’alam ul’almei almaya, “Amen; May God’s great name be blessed for ever and throughout eternity,” [the harsh decrees] are not allowed to leave the inner chamber.’

     Who will not exalt the exalted King!

     Who will not bless the blessed King!

     Who will not uplift the uplifted King!

     Who will not glorify the glorified King!

     Who will not acknowledge the rule of the King of kings!

     Who will not praise the praised King!

     Who will not sanctify the sanctified King, may God’s name be sanctified for all eternity!

     For every day great and wondrous things come from before God, . . . and God is pleased with us at the time of his children’s prayer.

     Thus you learn from here how great is the power of kaddish that it prevents troubles and gladdens God.[5]

As noted above, the kaddish has special virtuous value, and particularly the saying of yehei shemeih rabbah mevarakh,to keep troubles and retributions away from the world. Finding ourselves in a situation where we are kept from communal prayer and from reciting kaddish, especially in these troubled days, is distressing. 

3. The Need for a Minyan for the Recitation of Kaddish

It would seem obvious that kaddish is an inseparable part of communal prayer and thus requires the presence of a minyan for its recitation, as ruled by the Shulchan Arukh: “They recite kaddish, and it is not recited when less than ten . . . are present.”[6] Despite it not containing any expressions marking a blessing, nor does it even contain God’s name, many halakhic authorities have viewed an unnecessary recitation of kaddish as the equivalent of having uttered a blessing in vain (berakhah le’vatalah). For example, it is written in the Menuchah u’Kedushah: “Be wary of reciting a kaddish le’vatalah, as it is the equivalent of a berakhah le’vatalah.”[7] Ben Ish Chai also wrote: “As one should avoid reciting a blessing without cause, so too should one avoid multiplying the recitation of kaddish.”[8]   

     Rabbi Chaim Benveniste, author of the Knesset Hagedolah, wrote, “As it is proper to limit the recitation of blessings, so too is it proper to limit the recitation of kaddish.”[9] His contemporary, Rabbi Shmuel Abohav, added that increasing the number of times kaddish is recited unnecessarily “wears down” God’s strength, and ‘whoever adds ultimately detracts’:

Those who are accustomed to insert a recitation of kaddish at every opportunity without it having a fitting context of prayer, and without proper recitation and intent, hold cheap matters of the greatest sanctity . . . and wear down the strength of the great and awesome God’s holiness . . .[10]     

The Arokh HaShulchan wrote similarly:

Many Jews believe it to be a good thing to increase the number of times kaddish is recited, and how wrong they are! . . . One does not use the scepter of the King of kings, the holy blessed One without authorization. One who multiplies these [recitations] cheapens matters of the greatest sanctity.[11] 

      A dissenting voice is raised by the Eshel Avraham who does not see the multiple recitations of kaddish as the equivalent of a berakhah le’vatalah:

It seems that it is pointless to argue ‘[whoever] adds [ultimately detracts]’ in regard to the multiple recitation of kaddish. It is not like blessings for which we are cautioned to avoid reciting them without cause, while we find no such hesitancy in regard to kaddish. And although kaddish is reckoned an “act of sanctification,” a davar shebikedushah, it is still not considered a blessing.[12]   

     Nonetheless, all this discussion concerns the multiple recitations of kaddish, but there is no debate that the recitation of kaddish should not be done outside of the presence of a minyan. And so it is summarized in the Yalkut Yosef:

If there is no minyan at the gravesite, kaddish is not recited. If the mourner recited the kaddish anyway, one should not utter the response of amen. One should protest against those who are accustomed to recite kaddish at the graves of the righteous or of their parents . . . even if no minyan is present.[13]

4. A Virtual Minyan

As noted above, there is no spiritual benefit to reciting kaddish without having a minyan present. For some halakhic authorities, doing so is even the equivalent of uttering a berakhah le’vatalah. But what about a shared virtual space? Can ten people sharing such a space be deemed a minyan for the purpose of reciting devarim shebikedushah?

     Technological developments always challenged halakhic decisors and stirred controversy concerning how Halakhah should relate to these innovations. Take for example the inventions of the telephone and the radio. Can one fulfill one’s halakhic obligations by hearing a blessing, prayer, or megillah recited as part of a live broadcast? There have been those who did think it possible. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook writes:

Concerning one listening to the kedushah or barchu via telephone or radio – may such a person utter the responses required? The established Halakhah is that as long as there is a communal gathering of ten people in the same place [with the person reciting the kedushah or barchu], then no barrier in the world can keep a Jew from their Father in Heaven, and one may utter the required responses even though being remote from that place . . . as long as the person is hearing the [recitation], the person should not hesitate to respond.[14]

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was of the opinion that the sound coming out of a speaker is considered the voice of the person despite it undergoing a transformation via technological means:

Even if we say that the experts are correct that we are not hearing the voice of the person but instead are hearing another sound derived from that person’s voice, since we can only hear this latter sound when the person is saying something, we can still consider it as the person’s own voice, given that all we hear is directly caused by that person’s voice.[15]    

     Other halakhic authorities held the view that one cannot fulfill one’s obligations in this way.[16] Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, for example, disagreed with Rabbi Feinstein and argued that one cannot fulfill one’s requirement to hear Megillat Esther being read through a loud-speaker system: “Apparently, how this works was not properly explained to him, that the sound that is heard comes through the [vibrations of an artificial] membrane. For this reason it is certain that one does not fulfill one’s obligations [to hear the] reading of the megillah if it is recited using a microphone.”[17] And still, Rav Yosef did allow for the recitation of God’s Thirteen Attributes of Mercy while listening to the selichot prayers via live satellite broadcast.[18]

     In cases of extraordinary circumstance, where one has no alternative, one may rely on the more lenient views. For example, Rabbi Tzvi Herschel Schachter, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshiva University, relied on these more lenient views when he ruled this past Purim that people in quarantine can fulfill their obligation to hear the megillah be recited via live broadcast.

     All of the above, as stated expressly by Rabbi Kook, treated the case where there are ten people forming a minyan physically in one location and the question is can another eleventh person join in the minyan formed by the first ten if the eleventh person is in a remote location. None of the above-mentioned halakhic authorities treated the scenario where the first ten people to form the minyan are all together in one virtual space, but are all physically apart from each other. Can such a virtual space be halakhically deemed as being “one place” to allow for the ten (or more) people to recite devarim shebikedushah, at least in cases of extraordinary circumstance?

 It is recorded in the Shulchan Arukh:

One who stands behind the synagogue and in-between them is a window – even if it is several stories high [and] even if it is not four amot wide, and he shows them his face, he joins from there to form [the minyan of] ten.[19]  

According to the ruling of the Shulchan Arukh, a person that finds himself physically in a location apart from the other nine, but “he shows them his face,” will be counted with them toward the minyan. This is a precedent setting ruling.[20] The Arokh HaShulchan provides a fascinating theory for why “showing his face” is efficacious in this instance:

He believes that in this matter, seeing the face is like seeing the whole person. The rationale for this could be that [it is known that] the Shekhinah resides wherever there are ten people [congregated for prayer],[21] and that the Shekhinah dwells mainly about a person’s face, as it is written, “for the skin of his face shown” (Exodus 34:29).[22]  

In any case, Rabbi Yechiel Mikhel HaLevi Epstein puts a strict limit on the heter of the Shulchan Arukh and rules that this allowance can only be used to include someone in the courtyard of the synagogue, but not someone in another building.

     A fascinating ruling in this matter was handed down by Rabbi Yosef Chayim David Azulai (Chida) in regard to lazarettos, quarantined camps established in Europe for those who arrived from the Asian and African continents to make sure they were not infected with any contagious disease. People confined to these camps needed to remain there for forty days at the least so that the state of their health could be ascertained before being released. Chida himself spent time in one such camp in Livorno, and it was there that he wrote his book, Shem HaGedolim.[23] Chida ruled that people residing in different bunk houses would be able to join together to form a minyan. He wrote:

In the lazaretto that has been set up in these towns, if there are two groups that are out of reach of one another, and there are six people in one house and four in another, . . . it seems based on what we wrote that they could [halakhically] join together given the circumstance that they cannot get together in one house, nor can they leave the houses they are in because they are guarded by the entrance, and even were they able to go out, there would not be any room because outside, the space between the houses is narrow and serves as a public thoroughfare. Given that they cannot be physically together because of government policy . . . and because they show each other their faces, it is a case of one showing his face through a window [as recorded in the Shulchan Arukh, a circumstance in which Rabbi Yosef Karo ruled that the people] join together [to form a minyan]. . . . As there is no alternative allowing them to be together, and given that there are a number of halakhic authorities [allowing this], it seems one may rely on them rather than cancelling communal prayer for forty days, and going that whole time without hearing kaddish and the kedushah.[24]       

According to Chida, as there is no alternative given government regulations prohibiting people from exiting their homes, in order not to abolish communal prayer for a period of forty days, one may permit ten people to join in forming a minyan in a circumstance where they “show their faces,” despite not being together in the same physical space. Still, Chida’s ruling applies to seeing other people’s physical and not virtual faces.

     If not for the fact that I am apprehensive about acting solely, I would say that considering the opinion of the Arokh HaShulchan that the Shekhinah resides on a person’s face, in conjunction with the ruling of Chida – that under extraordinary circumstances, not to cancel the recitation of the kedushah and kaddish for a period of forty days, one may halakhically see as joined people that are in different physical spaces as long as they “show each other their faces” – there is room to allow the recitation of devarim shebikedushah in a minyan transpiring in a video meeting where at least ten people are showing their faces. If Chida could rule as he did in a local matter that “[they should not cancel] communal prayer for forty days, and [go] that whole time without hearing kaddish and the kedushah,” how much more so today when communal prayers are being cancelled worldwide, and likely for a period longer than forty days! God provided for us in our age, through human innovations, to be able to live a communal life even while forced to practice social distancing. In our contemporary times, the comment of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi carries even greater meaning: “Even an iron barrier will not keep a Jew from their Father in Heaven.”[25]

     This however is a most novel interpretation and ruling, and without the support of other halakhic decisors, I cannot rule in this manner on my own.    

5. The Halakhah of Kaddish De’Rabbanan

Up until this point we dealt with the laws of kaddish and defining the minyan requisite for its recitation as part of tefillah. However, there are instances in which kaddish is recited outside the parameters of tefillah. Some are of the opinion that the kaddish recited by mourners, kaddish yatom, is not part of tefillah and that its recitation at the close of tefillah was enacted to give the mourners an opportunity to do something to benefit the souls of their dear departed relatives. In the view of these opinions, even a minor who has not yet reached the age at which one becomes obligated to observe the mitzvot may recite this kaddish, as its recital is not a communal obligation. Maharil pointed out: “This kaddish is not obligatory, and so even minors may recite it.”[26] In other words, a kaddish not recited in fulfillment of a communal obligation but rather by personal discretion may be recited in ways that deviate from the laws outlined for it in the context of communal prayer, as for example, allowing a minor to recite it (if a minyan of ten adult males is present with the minor).

     Another example of such a kaddish is the kaddish de’rabbanan mentioned earlier, the kaddish in whose merit the entire world continues to exist according to the Sages. Kaddish de’rabbanan was enacted to be recited in the company of ten studying Torah together. Tractate Soferim notes this: “After which kaddish is recited. However, be’alma de’atid le’it’chadta, “in a world destined to renew itself,”[27] is mentioned only after talmudic study and after teaching homilies.”[28] And so writes Rambam:      

Kaddish de’rabbanan – [when] any ten or more people are engaged in the study of the Oral Law, even if it is [merely] midrashic in nature, when they are done, one of them recites kaddish using the following formula . . .[29]

This kaddish too requires ten people to be present, but as mentioned, it is not part of the tefillah, but is instead an element of the study of the Torah. The kaddish that is part of tefillah is apparently the result of a later evolution of the siddur, while the kaddish de’rabbanan is a manifestation of the original enactment of reciting kaddish. So writes Rabbi Menachem Mendel Chayim Landau of Zawiercze:

It seems to me that originally kaddish was enacted to be recited following the study of aggadot and the exegesis of biblical verses as part of the sermons delivered before the masses. This is in keeping with what the Tosafot wrote, explaining why it was composed in Aramaic – because these sermons were attended by laymen too, to allow them to understand [something, kaddish was composed in Aramaic].[30] At a later stage, it became the custom to recite it following the recitation of biblical verses alone, and after the shemoneh esreh too, given the significance of the latter.[31]          

What is derived from here is that kaddish de’rabbanan, known in the Talmud as the “yehei shemeih rabbah de’aggadta,” is the original formulation of the kaddish. It was enacted to be recited in the context of the study of Torah, but because of its significance, it found its way into the order of prayers, just like the kedushah de’sidra, itself a unit of study that found its way into the order of prayers.

     And what is more is that Rabbi Chayim Vital cites Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (The Ariz”l) saying that kaddish de’rabbanan enacted to be recited at the end of the tefillah (following the midrash of Rabbi Elazar in the name of Rabbi Chanina that Torah scholars spread peace in the world) is called kaddish batra in the halakhic literature and was meant to be recited by the orphans.[32]

 This kaddish was enacted to allow all to sanctify God’s name together, and that is why it is specifically recited following the study of aggadah, a subject that all can equally understand, and in Aramaic, the lingua franca of the day. The study of Torah by many together and the mass sanctification of God’s name is the foundation upon which the world exists, as appears in the midrash that we cited earlier. Here is Rashi’s interpretation of that midrash appearing in Tractate Sotah:

The kedushah de’sidra (appearing in the uva letzion prayer) was enacted for no other reason than to have Jews engaged in some minimal type of Torah study on a daily basis, for in this kedushah the person recites the verse and follows it immediately with its translation, and that is called studying Torah. And since this is practiced by all Jews – both students of the Torah and laymen – and it possesses two elements, a sanctification of God’s name and study of God’s Torah, it is a beloved thing.

     And the same is true for the yehei shemeih rabbah mevarakh cried out after the aggadah presented by the lecturer as part of his sermon to the mass audience, as it was their custom to gather each Shabbat to hear [such sermons], as Shabbat is a day off from work – here too there is both Torah and the sanctification of God’s name.         

How does this kaddish contribute to eradicating the curse from the world? After citing the above comments from Rashi, the Arokh HaShulchan offers:

And this is not understood. How is this relevant to eradicating the curse? . . . The midrash . . . teaches . . . He will call Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in times of trouble (Psalms 91:15) – says God, ‘When troubles befall the Jews and they seek Me out, they are making sure that I am joining them, and at that time I will answer them, as it says, He will call Me and I will answer him. When will this be? When I will be with him in times of trouble.’ . . . The most effective thing we could do to save ourselves from the troubles of this world is to share our miseries with God. The Gemara tells us likewise, “Anyone who shares his miseries with God receives [as a reward] a double portion of sustenance [from God].”[33] And so, when curses abound and we turn to pray, that is [called] sharing our miseries with the great and blessed God. In other words, at the moment we pray it is as if God too feels pain, for after all, [normally] “God’s glory fills the entire world,”[34] but right now God’s glory is not evident at all, [and that as it were causes God pain]. We, [in turn,] feel sorry for the lack of study of the Torah, the sole source of gladness for God, [due to our troubles] and that is why we say (in the uva letzion prayer), “God will reign for ever and ever?”[35] as if to say, when will God’s kingship be revealed? And we also say, yit’gadal . . . amen; yehei shemeih rabbah, an entire formula built on the idea of God’s Shekhinah being in exile. And [when we do all this], God calls out to us, removes the curse, and provides for our sustenance.[36]         

According to the Arokh HaShulchan, our efforts to study Torah and to sanctify God’s name especially at a time of trouble is our way of sharing our miseries with God, works to rid the world of the curses, and to allow us to sanctify God’s name even easier.   

We have seen that for the purposes of tefillah it is required for all ten participants to physically be in the same location. In cases of extraordinary circumstances, one can be lenient as long as they are “showing each other their faces.” We also saw that the original enactment to recite kaddish was not in the context of tefillah but of the study of Torah, which requires ten men for reciting kaddish but does not necessarily have the same restrictions of prayer in one space. This fact may allow to recite kaddish de’rabbanan in a situation when ten (or more) people are studying Torah together in the same virtual but not in the same physical space. Since they are studying together, one can suggest that not being co-located need not be an obstacle for the presence of Shekhinah, especially if their faces are visible for “Shekhinah dwells mainly about a person’s face”. Indeed, prayer requires a specific place as the Sages say, “One who sets a fixed place for his prayer, the God of Abraham assists him.”[37]

Torah study however, requires the people but not a specific place for the presence of the Shekhinah to dwell among them,When ten sit together and occupy themselves with Torah, the Shekhinah abides among them.”[38] All the more can there be leniency after we saw that there is no issue of berakhah le’vatalah with reciting kaddish. And while it is true that many halakhic authorities took a stand against the unnecessary recitation of kaddish numerous times, but today we are facing an opposite condition – to our great sorrow, kaddish is not being recited at all in a majority of Jewish communities anywhere.

     As an additional factor, even for those uttering their prayers privately, there is value to be doing so all at the same time. As the Shulchan Arukh rules: “If one is compelled not to go to the synagogue, one should synchronize the time of their own prayers with the time the community is praying.”[39]

     One can conclude from all the above that most especially in the extraordinary circumstances in which we all find ourselves today, when synagogues have shut their doors and it is not possible for a large majority of Jews to congregate together for purposes of tefillah or Torah study, extra effort be exerted to discover new ways in which to sanctify God’s name communally, as Chida wrote: “[they should not cancel] communal prayer for forty days, and [go] that whole time without hearing kaddish and the kedushah.”

I therefore wish to suggest the following practices:

  1. Communities should establish set times for the three daily prayers.
  2. A person should strive to offer their prayers with particular intent, from the heart, and with tears, something that may serve as a possible substitute for communal prayer, as is written in the Kaf HaChayim: “When with the community, three [daily] prayers are heard; but when in solitude, [they are heard only when accompanied by] daily tears.[40]
  3. If ten people at a minimum are participating in a virtual minyan and their faces are visible on the screen, kaddish de’rabbanan may be recited following the study of midrash, Mishnah or Gemara at the conclusion of the prayers.
  4. It is desirable for mourners to lead the study session and to conclude it with the recitation of kaddish.
  5. In the views of some, mourners are specifically to recite kaddish de’rabbanan.
  6. The study of Torah by relatives of a deceased is as beneficial for the soul of the departed as reciting kaddish.  
  7. Kaddish should be recited by only one person and each time a different person can be selected to recite it. This is to take into consideration that many of the technological platforms that would be used for such a virtual minyan do not allow for more than one person to speak at any one time.
  8. It is important to remember that there are other ways, in addition to the kaddish and the study of Torah, in which a mourner can work to bring benefit to the souls of the deceased – namely, through acts of chesed and tzedakah, acts so needed today.[41]

In times when the order of the world is being sent into disarray, when A land whose blackness is like the gloom of the shadow of death, with no orderly systems, and whose luster is like gloom, extra effort made not to abandon the recitation of kaddish may in and of itself benefit to remove the plague from our midst, so that no plague will destroy you.[42] For after all, the world continues to exist because of the kedushah de’sidra and the yehei shemeih rabbah after the study of aggadah.

A prayer for health, peace, and good tidings for us, for all of Am Yisrael, and for the whole world.

Ronen Neuwirth

[1] Megillah 23b. Meaning, a minyan.

[2] Shabbat 119b.

[3] Sotah 49a.

[4] Kedushah as used here is a specific reference to the two verses recited in the uva letzion prayer along with their Aramaic translation – Isaiah 6:3 and Ezekiel 3:12 – that together constitute a moment of brief Torah study.

[5] Seder Rav Amram Gaon, Shacharit.

[6] Orach Chayim 55:1. 

[7] Rabbi Yisrael Isser of Ponovizh, student of Rabbi Chaim Volozhiner; Menuchah u’Kedushah 22.

[8] Ben Ish Chai, Year One, Vayechi 9.

[9] (1603-1673, Turkey) Knesset Hagedolah in the glosses to the Tur, Orach Chayim 55 citing Mahari, and quoted by the Ba’er Hetev and the Mishnah Berurah

[10] (1610-1694, Venice) Responsa Devar Shmuel 183.

[11] Orach Chayim 55:3.

[12] Rabbi Avraham David ben Asher Wahrman of Buchach (1771-1840, Galicia); Eshel Avraham 132:2.

[13] Yalkut Yosef, Laws of Mourning, 2004 edition, p. 610. Also see Responsa Yechaveh Da’at 6:5, p. 25. 

[14] Responsa Orach Mishpat 48.

[15] Responsa Iggerot Moshe, Orach Chayim 2:108.

[16] Responsa Mishpetei Uziel 1:21, 2:32; Responsa Minchat Shlomoh 1:9, and others.

[17] Responsa Yechaveh Da’at 3:54.

[18] Yalkut Yosef, Laws of Days of Awe, 2016 edition, in the section on selichot, p. 50, note 9.

[19] Orach Chayim 55:14 citing Rabbi Hai Gaon.

[20] For the background to this law, see the sugyot in Pesachim 85b and Eruvin 92b with the Tosafot.

[21] Berakhot 6a.

[22] Orach Chayim 55:20.

[23] Weiss, S. Me’orot BiShmei HaYahadut, p. 78.

[24] (1724-1806, Jerusalem/Italy) Machazik Berakhah 55:11, cited by Sha’arei Teshuvah 55:7 and Kaf HaChayim 55:75.

[25] Pesachim 85b.

[26] Rabbi Yaakov HaLevi benMoshe Moulin (1360-1427; Germany), Responsa Maharil HaChadashot 28. His view is paralleled by the Agur (Laws of Ma’ariv Prayer 334) and the Levush (133).  

[27] Today, this line does not appear in the standard formula of kaddish de’rabbanan and is used only in that special formula for kaddish used upon completion of a tractate of the Talmud or at a funeral by the mourners.

[28] Soferim 19:12.

[29] Mishneh Torah, Sefer Ahavah, Seder Tefillot Kol HaShanah, Nusach HaKaddish

[30] Berakhot 3a, s.v. ve’onin.

[31] In his commentary to the Siddur Tzelota De’Avraham prepared by his grandfather Rabbi Avraham Landau of Ciechanów, pp. 137-138.

[32] Sha’ar HaKavvanot. Also see Ben Ish Chai, Year One, Vayechi 12:1 and Kaf HaChayim 55:20.

[33] Berakhot 63a.

[34] Isaiah 6:3.

[35] Exodus 15:18

[36] Orach Chayim 132:5

[37] Berakhot 6b.

[38] Avot 3:6

[39] Orach Chayim 90:9.

[40] Orach Chayim 90:59.

[41]Although reciting kaddish and (leading) the prayers bring benefit to one’s ancestors, these are not the essentials; what is essential is for the children to walk in the right path, for in this way they bring merit to their parents.” – Kitzur Shulchan Arukh 26

 “Instead of reciting kaddish numerous times, one should study more Torah and give more tzedakah, thereby bringing merit to one’s parents and feelings of contentment. If one, though, neglects the essentials, that is the Torah and good deeds, and engages only with minor matters, they offer no contentment to the deceased at all.” – Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu Henkin as cited by Ta’arikh Yisrael 19 

[42] Exodus 12:13.