Jews worldwide are familiar with the Kaddish but few of us have studied its origins. Join Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman as he explores how it became such a monumental part of our liturgy and how the halachot of Kaddish developed over time.
This series is dedicated by Amihai Zippor in loving memory of the extended Zippor family: grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and brother -David Zvi ben Gershon Yehezkiel & Freida bat Yoel Binyamin, Yoel ben David Zvi & Rivka bat Eliyahu, Yocheved bat David Zvi, Meir ben David Zvi, Gershon ben David Zvi & Ruth bat Shalom, Yaakov ben Yoel, Daniel ben Yoel, Adi Yaakov ben Meir, Zvi ben Yaakov, Nirit Avigail ben Yaakov.
The prayer known as “Kaddish” is probably the best known of all the prayers in the Siddur. Its fame is in my opinion linked to its being connected with our mourning practices. Specifically the Kaddish is viewed as a prayer which somehow assists the deceased as they are judged by Hashem in heaven. This idea that Kaddish is the last hope for saving the dead from a horrible fate was so strong that parents in Eastern Europe would often refer to their (male) child as “my Kaddish.”
The concept that Kaddish is a prayer with magical powers is something that the great Poskim saw as a perversion not only of the prayer itself (which make no references either to the dead or to Heaven and Hell) but of Hashem’s judgement.
In this short series of classes we will study the Kaddish, what it means and how it acquired its renown.
I look forward to studying the Kaddish with you.
Today we will discuss who may say Kaddish.
Today we will discuss the subject of hearing Kaddish (and other prayers and texts) via electronic means, either via amplification systems or over the Internet. The fundamental issues involved were explored in the previous century and for the most part Orthodox synagogues did not make use of these devices. However with the Corona virus outbreak the questions about the use of these devices were asked with great urgency since so many people were cut off not only from their synagogues but from their families as well.
Today we will look at the texts which provide the basis for answering these questions.
Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman graduated from Yeshiva University in 1980 and the dental school of Columbia University in 1985. In 1989 he began studying and teaching at Yeshivat Hamivtar and now studies and teaches at Yeshivat Machanaim in Efrat. He has rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.