Hebrew Prayers

A Brief Introduction to Kaddish:

The word itself rings deeply within the hearts of all Jews from all backgrounds, religious, affiliated, and even the very distant. Amongst the Jewish people Kaddish is probably one of the most widely known and perhaps least understood parts within the Jewish “liturgy”/prayer service. Since Kaddish is primarily recited by those in mourning for a loved one, the context of this revered proclamation is oftentimes misconstrued as referring to death and various topics associated with mourning. This, however, is not so. Kaddish is, first and foremost, a declaration of the Jewish people’s uncompromising belief that in due time the Divine Name will be One and His Divine glory will be manifest throughout all corners of the universe. The reality of the Creator, the only true reality, will become obvious to all. Then the planet, currently dominated by strife, persecution, and desire for material gain will transform into a repository for spiritual knowledge as understood through our holy Torah and a place to cling to the Divine Himself. Secondly, Kaddish proclaims G-d’s ineffable, incomprehensible greatness and the Jewish people’s inextricable relationship with Him. It is human nature in times of crisis, tragedy and mourning to turn away from the Divine. Understandably, there are times when we are swayed by our emotions, incapable of maintaining the perspective that everything that occurs in our relatively small universe is only through the will of G-d and by consequence must be for the best. Amongst other reasons, the Rabbi’s by means of their profound wisdom designed Kaddish to address this almost inevitable despair and spiritual alienation. By proclaiming G-d’s greatness three times a day with fervent concentration, the mourner is able survive the recent blow and persevere in his spiritual journey. Lastly, the spiritual strength of Kaddish is not limited to consoling the mourner. Truly, the primary spiritual purpose of Kaddish lies in elevating the neshoma (soul) of the recently departed into higher spiritual realms in the afterworld, granting them greater opportunity to bask in the Divine light for all eternity. This phenomenon is derived from a verse in Deuteronomy: “Grant atonement to your nation Israel whom you have redeemed.” (Duet:21:8) The Sages of old explained this in the Pesikta: “…this refers to the dead who can receive atonement through the charity of the living.”


Yeetgadal v’ yeetkadash sh’mey rabbah (Cong. Amein).
May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (Cong. Amen.)

B’almah dee v’rah kheer’utey
in the world that He created as He willed.

v’ yamleekh malkhutei,b’chahyeykhohn, uv’ yohmeykhohn,
May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days,

uv’chahyei d’chohl beyt yisrael,
and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel,

ba’agalah u’veez’man kareev, v’eemru: Amein.
swiftly and soon. Now respond: Amen.

(Cong: Amein. Y’hey sh’met rabbah m’varach l’alam u’l’almey almahyah)
(Cong Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.)

Y’hey sh’met rabbah m’varach l’alam u’l’almey almahyah.
May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.

Yeet’barakh, v’ yeesh’tabach, v’ yeetpa’ar, v’ yeetrohmam, v’ yeet’nasei,
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
v’ yeet’hadar, v’ yeet’aleh, v’ yeet’halal sh’mey d’kudshah b’reekh hoo
mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed is He

(Cong. b’reekh hoo).
(Cong. Blessed is He)

L’eylah meen kohl beerkhatah v’sheeratah,
beyond any blessing and song,

toosh’b’chatah v’nechematah, da’ameeran b’al’mah, v’eemru: Amein
praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now respond: Amen.

(Cong. Amein).
(Cong. Amen).

Y’hei shlamah rabbah meen sh’mahyah,v’chahyeem
May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life

aleynu v’al kohl yisrael, v’eemru: Amein
upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen.

(Cong. Amein).
(Cong. Amen).

Oseh shalom beem’roh’mahv, hoo ya’aseh shalom,
He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace,

aleynu v’al kohl yisrael v’eemru: Amein
upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen.

(Cong. Amein).
(Cong. Amen).

Jews have always relied on Tehillim (Psalms) in times of trouble. For example, when a relative is sick, people often recite psalms for their welfare. Psalms can be found in any bible. Some psalms that are particularly appropriate at this time include Psalm 20, 23, 79, 91 and 123.


An English Translation

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

The Meaning of Kaddish

Having read the translation of the Kaddish Prayer, one should realize that, although Jewish Law requires that the Kaddish be recited during the first eleven months following the death of a loved one by prescribed mourners, and on each anniversary of the death (the “Yahrtzeit”), and by custom in the State of Israel by all Jews on the Tenth of Tevet (“Yom HaKaddish HaKlali’), there is no reference, no word even, about death in the prayer!

The theme of Kaddish is, rather, the Greatness of G-d, Who conducts the entire universe, and especially his most favored creature, each individual human being, with careful supervision. In this prayer, we also pray for peace – from apparently the only One Who can guarantee it – peace between nations, peace between individuals, and peace of mind.

Paradoxically, this is, in fact, the only true comfort in the case of the loss of a loved one. That is, to be able to view the passing of the beloved individual from the perspective that that person’s soul was gathered in, so to speak, by the One Who had provided it in the first place.

As Beruriah, the great wife of Rabbi Meir, consoled her husband, upon the death of their two sons, with words to this effect, “A soul is comparable to an object which was given to us – to each individual, to his or her parents and loved ones, to guard and watch over for a limited time. When the time comes for the object to be returned to its rightful owner, should we not be willing to return it? With regard to our sons, let us therefore consider the matter as ‘The L- rd gave, and the L-rd took back, may the Name of the L-rd be Blessed!’ ”

Kaddish is a traditional prayer that is said daily with a quorum of at least ten Jewish males who are over the age of thirteen.  The mourner stands and says the Kaddish while the quorum responds in unison with the appropriate phrase   (to see prayer click).  The Kaddish is said from the day of burial, daily for the first eleven months, and on the anniversary of the death.

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