What is a Kaddish?
The Kaddish is a hymn of praises to God found in Jewish prayer services. The oldest version of the Kaddish is found in the Siddur of Rab Amram Gaon, c. 900. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God’s name.
“Mourner’s Kaddish” is said at all prayer services and certain other occasions. It is written in Aramaic. It takes the form of Kaddish Yehe Shelama Rabba, and is traditionally recited several times, most prominently at or towards the end of the service.
Customs for reciting Mourner’s Kaddish vary among the different communities, though most congregations have all the mourners stand and chant the Kaddish together. Reciting the Kaddish together is sometimes said to be for those victims of the Holocaust who have no one left to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish on their behalf.
It is important to note that Mourner’s Kaddish does not mention death at all, but instead praises God. Though the Kaddish is often referred to as the “Jewish Prayer for the Dead.” However that more accurately describes the prayer called “El Malei Rachamim”, which specifically prays for the soul of the deceased.
This version of the Kaddish is recited at graveside mourner’s, immediately following the burial:
Exalted and hallowed be His great Name. (Congregation responds: “Amen.”)
In the world which He will create anew, where He will revive the dead, construct His temple, deliver life, and rebuild the city of Jerusalem, and uproot foreign idol worship from His land, and restore the holy service of Heaven to its place, along with His radiance, splendor and Shechinah, and may He bring forth His redemption and hasten the coming of His Moshiach. (Cong: “Amen.”)
In your lifetime and in your days and in the lifetime of the entire House of Israel, sword, famine and death shall cease from us and from the entire Jewish nation, speedily and soon, and say, Amen.
(Cong: “Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever and to all eternity, blessed.”)
May His great Name be blessed forever and to all eternity. Blessed and praised, glorified, exalted and extolled, honored, adored and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. (Cong: “Amen.”)
Beyond all the blessings, hymns, praises and consolations that are uttered in the world; and say, Amen. (Cong: “Amen.”)
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and a good life for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen. (Cong: “Amen.”)
*He Who makes peace (Between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur substitute: “the peace”) in His heavens, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen. (Cong: “Amen.”)