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Hilchos Berachos 55-56 (page 177)
מסימן נה סעיף כב עד סימן נו אמצע סעיף א ולא יפסיק

Activities Forbidden While Listening to Kaddish
Reciting Kaddish Softly
Must Kaddish be Recited According to the Local Custom?

Activities forbidden while listening to kaddish
Every individual must listen to the recitation of kaddish even if there are ten men listening without him. It is necessary to be fully focused when responding to kaddish; a person should not talk, involve himself in other activities, or even think about other things (including Torah) during kaddish. This rule pertains to all mandatory kaddeishim, whether during davening (e.g. the kaddish after Yishtabach or the Kaddish Yasom after Aleynu) or after the study of Tanach or Aggadeta. The Rishonim warn of the severe punishments for those who speak during kaddish.
( סימן נו, סעיף א וס"ק א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 2)
Reciting kaddish softly
The words of kaddish must be recited loud enough for the congregation to hear them. Someone who whispers kaddish gives the impression that he doesn't really want people to answer his call to praise Hashem. Some poskim derive from this that in shuls where only one person at a time is permitted to recite kaddish out loud, it is forbidden for other members of the congregation to recite kaddish quietly along with him. According to other poskim, since one person is reciting kaddish out loud, the quiet recitation of kaddish by others does not give the impression that they are hesitant to praise Hashem.
( סימן נו, ס"ק ב; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 11)
Must kaddish be recited according to the local custom?
There are slight variations in the wording of kaddish depending upon the nusach of the shul. The noticeable difference is that the words vayatzmach purkanei, etc., do not appear in nusach Ashkenaz. When there is a difference between the nusach one is accustomed to and the nusach of the shul, the mourner should recite the shul's version. Some poskim, however, permit reciting kaddish according to the custom of the mourner. Some Sefardic poskim hold that the mourner should always recite the main body of kaddish (the first half) according to the Sefardic version, which is preferred according to kabbalah, and the latter part of kaddish according to the shul's version. This opinion also holds that if there is potential for discord, the shul's custom should be followed.
( סימן נו, ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 8)


  • When a minyan is davening in one room, an individual davening away from the group in a nearby room is not considered to be davening with the tzibur unless the only entrance to the main room of the minyan is through the room where the individual is davening.
  • Some poskim hold that a person standing outside a shul is required to respond to kaddish, kedusha and Barechu when he hears them from the minyan inside. Some poskim exempt him from responding, particularly if responding will interrupt his Torah study or davening.
  • If someone who lives in an area that has just enough people for a minyan wants to go away for the Yamim Noraim, he must hire a replacement to take his place at the minyan.




  • Responding to kaddish and kedusha at once

  • Standing for kaddish

  • Responding to kaddish in a voice louder than the one reciting it


PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.