Beit Midrash

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Chapter Twenty Three-Part Three

Barchu and End of the Prayer


Rabbi Eliezer Melamed

9. Barchu
For those who arrive at the synagogue late, after the beginning of Birkot Keriat Shema, and miss the response to Barchu by the congregation, the Chachamim established that after the prayer service, the chazan repeats Barchu. The latecomers, along with the entire congregation, answer, "Baruch Hashem HaMevorach l’olam va’ed" ("Blessed is Hashem, the Blessed One, for all eternity"). That is also how we practice at the conclusion of the Ma’ariv service. According to this, on Shabbat and holidays, there is no need for the chazan to say Barchu at the end of the prayer service, because it is reasonable to assume that even those who came late succeeded in hearing the recital of Barchu by the people called up to the Torah (Shulchan Aruch 133:1; Maharitz; Mishnah Berurah, the introduction to section 69). For this reason, those who pray in Nusach Ashkenaz do not recite Barchu after the prayer service on those weekdays on which the Torah is read. However, on days when the Torah is not read, it is always customary to recite Barchu without verifying whether there is someone who needs to make it up, so as not to trouble the congregation to determine if there is a latecomer present.
According to the Ari, Barchu is always recited after the prayer service, because according to his Kavanot, it is necessary to say Barchu twice in every prayer service, once before Birkot Keriat Shema and a second time at the end of the service. The same is true for Ma’ariv. That is the custom of those who pray in Nusach Sephard, and the minhag of the Chassidim as well (Kaf HaChaim 133:1).
In every nusach of prayer, Barchu is recited after Kaddish d’Rabbanan, which is the last Kaddish, so that even the last of the latecomers will succeed in hearing it. It is customary that the one who recites Kaddish says the Barchu as well. However, sometimes the one reciting the last Kaddish is a child who lost a parent and has not yet reached the age of mitzvot. In such a case, the chazan, who is obligated to perform the mitzvot, must be the one to recite Barchu (Mishnah Berurah 55:4).

10. Is Another Kaddish Recited After Aleinu L’Shabe’ach?
After Aleinu L’Shabe’ach there is no need to recite another Kaddish Yehei Shelama because it was already said after Shir Shel Yom. Likewise, there is no reason to recite Kaddish on verses of Scripture twice within such a short amount of time. Even according to the Kavanot HaAri, there is no room for another Kaddish, and that is the custom of the Sephardim.
Nevertheless, in Ashkenazic minyanim, mourners are accustomed to reciting Kaddish Yehei Shelama on verses of Scripture twice. In other words, Kaddish Yehei Shelama is recited after Aleinu L’Shabe’ach and again after Shir Shel Yom. This law depends upon whether or not it is permissible to recite additional Kaddishim. 10
The poskim write that every person must hear seven Kaddishim every day, corresponding to what is written (Psalms 119:164), "Sheva bayom hillalticha" ("I praise You seven times daily") (Beit Yosef 55:1; Mishnah Berurah 55:5). According to the Ari, one must hear twelve Kaddishim daily. 11

11.The Laws of Kaddish
Due to the importance of the Kaddish, the laws pertaining to it resemble the laws of the Amidah prayer. Therefore, the person reciting the Kaddish must stand, customarily with his legs together. Also, just as it is forbidden to pass within the four amot of a person praying the Amidah (see earlier in this book, 18:18), so too, it is forbidden to pass within four amot of a person reciting Kaddish. This prohibition applies until the end of the Half-Kaddish (Birkei Yosef; Kaf HaChaim 55:9).
Some say that since the Kaddish is considered to be a matter of sanctity, the congregation must stand when the main section of Kaddish is recited, or at least until they answer "Yehei Shemei rabba…" (Rama; Mishnah Berurah 56:7-8). Similarly, it is necessary to stand when responding to Barchu (Mishnah Berurah 146:18). Some say that it is not obligatory to stand for matters of sanctity, yet those who were standing at the beginning of Kaddish must remain standing, and those who were sitting before it began may continue to sit, which is also how the Ari practiced (Maharil; Kaf HaChaim 56:20; 146:20-21).
Before the chazan reaches the last portion of the Kaddish, he performs the actions done at the end of the Shemoneh Esrei. He bows and takes three steps back. He then bows to the left and says, "Oseh shalom bimromav", bows to his right and says, "Hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu", and then bows in front of him and says, "V’al kol Yisrael v’imru Amen" (Shulchan Aruch 56:5; 123:1). 12
Some follow the custom that the chazan bows slightly at every place in which the congregation answers Amen. Others bow at different places, and there are those who do not bow at all. 13
There are differing customs regarding the response of "Yehei Shemei rabba…." According to the Ashkenazic and Yemenite (Baladi) minhagim, we conclude, "L’alam ul’almei almaya." According to the Chassidic and Yemenite (Shami) custom, we add "Yitbarach" as well. According to the Sephardic minhag, we recite until "d’amiran b’alma." Another difference is that after "Berich Hu," the Ashkenazim answer "Berich Hu" and according to the Sephardic minhag, whoever succeeds in finishing until "d’amiran b’alma" responds Amen, and whoever does not, refrains from responding to "Berich Hu." 14
When a person answers "Amen Yehei Shemei rabba…" he should pause between "Amen" and "Yehei Shemei rabba," for Amen is a response to what the chazan said previously, and "Yehei Shemei rabba" is a praise in itself (Mishnah Berurah 56:2).

12.Kaddish After Learning
It is a mitzvah to recite Kaddish after every learning session. If verses of Scripture are learned, Kaddish Yehei Shelama is recited. Following rabbinic study, Kaddish d’Rabbanan is recited. It is customary that after rabbinic study, words of aggadah are added, for they please the heart, and consequently, the Kaddish recited afterwards is said out of happiness (Birkei Yosef 55:1; and see Mishnah Berurah 55:9). Therefore, after Pitum HaKetoret, further words of aggadah are added about one who learns halachot every day and about talmidei chachamim who increase peace in the world.
Some maintain that Kaddish is not to be recited unless ten people learn together, be it verses of Scripture or Chazal’s teachings (Aruch HaShulchan 55:5). Others say that even when two people learn together, and immediately upon their conclusion ten men assemble there, they may recite Kaddish on their learning (Magen Avraham; Mishnah Berurah 54:9 and 55:2). The custom is that one who wishes to recite Kaddish after his learning says aloud, "Rabbi Chananya son of Akashya says, HaKadosh Baruch Hu wanted to grant Israel merit, therefore He gave them the Torah and mitzvot in abundance," etc. Since ten people hear these rabbinic words, they are considered to have learned, and then all opinions agree that Kaddish may be recited. Similarly, when saying Kaddish upon the recital of verses of Scripture, the person saying it should first say three verses aloud, and afterwards he may recite Kaddish according to all opinions.

^ 10.Many Acharonim (among them, Knesset HaGedolah, Chayei Adam, Shetilei Zeitim 55:9) write that just like it is best to minimize the number of berachot that one recites, so it is best to say as few Kaddishim as possible. The Mishnah Berurah 55:1 adds that some Acharonim forcefully challenge the practice of those who assembled to recite verses or rabbinic teachings and say Kaddish a few times. Instead, one Kaddish is recited on the verses and one on rabbinic study, and no more. That is what is written in Az Nidberu 13:33, and hence Kaddish Yehei Shelama may not be recited twice at the end of the prayer service. By contrast, Eshel Avraham Butshatsh 132:2 writes that many Kaddishim may be added, and that the law concerning them resembles the law of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy which are recited many times in Selichot. Since Hashem’s Name is not mentioned in the Kaddish, the Kaddish is not considered to be recited in vain. He continues that this is how he practiced when he was a chazan and there was no mourner present – he himself recited Kaddish Yehei Shelama twice at the end of the prayer service. The Ari’s opinion, that there is no place for a Kaddish after Aleinu, is brought in Kaf HaChaim 55:1; 48:1, at the end of s.v. "V’Da Hakdamah."
Further, the Eshel Avraham 132:2 writes that it is proper to adjoin Barchu to Kaddish just as it is customary to do regarding the Barchu before Birkot Keriat Shema in Shacharit. Therefore, the minhag (in Nusach Sephard) to say a few verses before Ma’ariv and Kaddish after them became widespread. Similarly, at the end of the prayer service, it is proper to recite Kaddish before Barchu.
Moreover, formerly, the custom in Ashkenaz was that only one person would recite Kaddish, and when there were a few mourners they would take turns. There were times that every mourner merited reciting one Kaddish per week. Perhaps that is the reason that it was customary to say Mourner’s Kaddish twice, so that more mourners could recite it. When the number of mourners increased as a result of the pogroms, a new custom was introduced – that all the mourners would recite Kaddish together. By contrast, the Sephardic custom has always been that all the mourners recite Mourner’s Kaddish together.

^ 11.The following are the seven Kaddishim (as written in Mishnah Berurah 55:5): 1) Half-Kaddish after Pesukei d’Zimrah, 2) Half-Kaddish after Shemoneh Esrei, 3) Kaddish-Titkabal after Kedushah d’Sidra, 4) Yehei Shelama after Aleinu L’Shabe’ach (according to Nusach Ashkenaz), 5) Half-Kaddish after Ashrei in Minchah, 6) Kaddish-Titkabal after Minchah, and 7) Half-Kaddish in Ma’ariv between Birkot Keriat Shema and Shemoneh Esrei. The Kaddish after Ma’ariv, even though it is a mitzvah, is not included in the seven.
The Kaf HaChaim 55:1, based on the Ari, adds another five, as follows: 1) Kaddish d’Rabbanan before Hodu, 2) Kaddish d’Rabbanan after Pitum HaKetoret in Shacharit, 3) Half-Kaddish before Barchu of Ma’ariv, 4) Kaddish-Titkabal after Ma’ariv, and 5) Kaddish Yehei Shelama after the verses following Ma’ariv. Some are accustomed to adding another Kaddish on the verses recited after Minchah, which makes a total of thirteen Kaddishim. The Kaf HaChaim 55:21 writes further that if the mourners are minors, or the mourner stutters and cannot pronounce the words properly, it is necessary for another person to say Kaddish with him, so as to complete the required number of daily Kaddishim. However, regarding an optional Kaddish, not included in the twelve mentioned above, a minor may recite it himself (ibid., 19).

^ 12.However, Kaf HaChaim 56:36 writes that the chazan takes three steps back only in Kaddish-Titkabal, since it is connected to the Amidah prayer, but concerning the remaining Kaddishim that are not linked to the Amidah, there is no reason to step backwards. Still, Yabia Omer 5:9 supports the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch, that in all Kaddishim he takes three steps back. A possible explanation is that the essence of the Kaddish is considered similar to the Amidah, and that alone necessitates taking three steps back. This is the minhag of all Ashkenazim.

^ 13.The Shulchan Aruch 56:4 writes that the chazan bows at five places during the Kaddish, when saying: 1) "Yitgadal," 2) "Yehei Shemei Rabba," 3) "Yitbarach," 4) "Berich Hu," and 5) "Amen" (at the end of the Half-Kaddish). The Kaf HaChaim 56:35 writes in the name of a number of Acharonim that he bows every time the congregation responds Amen. It seems that even according to his minhag, the chazan bows at only five places; however, he bows at the five places in which the congregation responds Amen in the Half-Kaddish. The Gra questions these bows, for he maintains that it is wrong to add more bows than the ones the Chachamim instituted for the Shemoneh Esrei. The Aruch HaShulchan 56:7 answers that the bows performed in the Kaddish are minor, unlike those in Shemoneh Esrei, and therefore they are not considered additions to what the Chachamim established.

^ 14.The Beit Yosef summarizes the opinions and writes in the name of the Rambam, Rashi, Kolbo, and Rabbi David Abudraham that one only says until "almaya," which adds up to a total of 28 letters, and that is Minhag Ashkenaz. However, the Midrash writes that one must be very careful not to separate the words "almaya" and "Yitbarach," and that someone who does is punished. Therefore, many became accustomed to saying until "d’amiran b’alma," a total of 28 words. So, it seems, is the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch 56:3. This is also written in Kaf HaChaim 33. Minhag Chassidim, based on Rabbi Yosef Gik’atlya, is to say until "Yitbarach," thereby attaching "almaya" to "Yitbarach." The Magen Avraham writes that this is an ancient custom. However, the opinion of the Gra, based on the Rishonim, is not to recite "Yitbarach" because this word begins a different praise. The Mishnah Berurah 15 provides a possible solution – if one says "Yitbarach" after an interruption of a breath, perhaps even according to the Gra, the recital of "Yitbarach" would be permissible.
According to the Mishnah Berurah 56:15, if he reaches a point in prayer in which it is forbidden to interrupt, he may answer only until "almaya." Kaf HaChaim 33 writes that he says everything until "d’amiran b’alma." Yalkut Yosef 66:1 maintains that between paragraphs or berachot he responds to everything, and in the middle of paragraphs or berachot he answers until "Yitbarach."
The Shulchan Aruch 55:2 writes that after the conclusion of "Yehei Shemei rabba…," when the chazan says "Yitbarach," the congregation responds Amen. Today, only the Yemenites practice this way. According to the Sephardic minhag, in which they continue to say until "d’amiran b’alma," it is impossible to succeed in responding Amen after "Yitbarach," and even to "Berich Hu" they do not always succeed in answering. That is also what is written in Kaf HaChaim 56:29, that according to the Kavanot, one does not respond Amen after "Yitbarach."
It is better to respond to the Kaddish in accordance with the custom of the one reciting it ("Berich Hu," "Amen," etc.), as explained earlier in this book 6:5. However, this is usually not the practice, and therefore many are accustomed to answering according to their own minhag, despite the fact that it appears slightly like "Lo Titgodedu" (fragmenting the nation into divergent groups with different practices).

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