jewish Funeral Guide

Kaddish / קדיש

Kaddish Variations

Chatzi Kaddish / חצי קדיש — Half Kaddish is recited only by a cantor to mark a transition from one part of the prayer service to the next. (We use the word “cantor” to refer to anybody who leads the prayer services, but does not necessarily sing.) The only exception is the Chatzi Kadish after the Torah reading, which in some congregations is recited by one of the mourners. Chatzi Kadish is also the starting segment of all other types of Kaddishim.

Kaddish Yatom / קדיש יתום — the Mourner's Kaddish (literally the Orphan's Kaddish) is a combination of the Half Kaddish and an additional segment — a request of peace and prosperity. It is recited by the mourners, after certain selected prayers as indicated in the prayer books. If no mourners are present, this Kaddish is not recited. The only exception is the custom of some Ashkenazic congregations to recite Mourner's Kaddish after the prayer Aleinu / עלינו לשבח at the end of the services even when no mourners are present. This Kaddish is usually recited by someone whose parents have already passed away.

Kaddish Shalem / קדיש שלם — the Complete Kaddish is recited only by a cantor after the termination of a main portion of the prayer service that includes either the Amidah Prayer / תפילת העמידה (also known as Shemoneh Esrey / תפילת שמונה עשרה) or Selichot / סליחות. The cantor requests on behalf of the congregation God's acceptance of their prayers. This request is inserted between the Chatzi Kaddish and the Mourner's Kaddish segments.

Instead of the request to accept our prayer, Kaddish DeRabbanan / קדיש דרבנן — the Rabbis' Kaddish adds a request for the welfare of rabbis, and their students, and everyone who learns Torah. This request is inserted between the Chatzi Kaddish and the Mourner's Kaddish segments. Rabbis' Kaddish is usually recited by mourners after the congregation reads or learns from the Talmud or other rabbinical writings.

The following sections contain the text of the Kaddish:

Mourner's Kaddish (Ashkenazim)
Mourner's Kaddish (Sephardim)
Rabbis' Kaddish (Ashkenazim)
Rabbis' Kaddish (Sephardim)

Please note that there are variations in the wording of Kaddish both among Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Some of these variations will be indicated in the following sections by using square brackets.