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Shabbat Parashat Vayigash 5772

Ask the Rabbi: Questions About the Kaddish After Kriat Hatorah

Rav Daniel Mann

Question:  There are various things regarding Kaddish after Kri’at Hatorah (laining) that I do not understand. I saw your past response stating that it might be alright for a mourner to recite the Kaddish after Kri’at Hatorah (laining), but that some poskim believe the ba’al korei should do so. Why would I think that it should it be done by the ba’al korei? I also wonder: since the Kaddish on Shabbat morning is to separate the seven regular aliyot from the Maftir, why is it recited on Mondays and Thursdays when there is no Maftir? (After all, at Mincha of Shabbat, since there is no Maftir, there is no Kaddish.)


Answer:  We will start by clarifying the issue regarding your second question, and that should basically eliminate the first question as well.

There is a general idea that we should publicly sanctify Hashem’s Name daily, at least seven times by means of Kaddish, in line with the pasuk: “Seven [times] in the day I praised you” (Tehillim 119:164; see Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 55). Yet, each type of Kaddish has a specific function, as the Pri Megadim (Orach Chayim, Mishbetzot Zahav 55:1) spells out. He says that Chatzi (abbreviated) Kaddish is done to separate between different parts of tefilla (e.g., Psukei D’zimra and Birkot Kri’at Shema; Ashrei and Shemoneh Esrei of Mincha, etc.). After Kri’at Hatorah, there is also a Chatzi Kaddish because Kri’at Hatorah was instituted as a special unit within tefilla. This is the case whether or not there is Maftir at a given laining.

The idea of having Kaddish between the seven regular aliyot and Maftir was a post-Talmudic innovation to show the distinction between the main obligation and the added aliya, which does not count towards the requirement of seven aliyot (see Tosafot, Megilla 23a). However, that is not the reason for the Kaddish, just the reason it was placed in between the two. Actually, because the Kaddish was placed before Maftir, it became necessary to finish the main laining before Maftir, which usually just repeats the last p’sukim. This is because Kaddish is supposed to be said at the end of the entire unit of Kri’at Hatorah (ibid.).

Now we understand why there is Kaddish after Kri’at Hatorah even on Mondays and Thursdays, when there is no Maftir. The important thing is that there should be a Kaddish at the end of the laining. On Mondays and Thursdays, it is obvious that it will be after the third, final aliya. Laining at Mincha of Shabbat actually is succeeded by a Kaddish, as the Kaddish before Shemoneh Esrei relates back to Kri’at Hatorah (Mishna Berura 292:4). The reason that it is delayed slightly is because we want people to know when Shemoneh Esrei is starting, and the reason we can not have one Kaddish after the laining and another before Shemoneh Esrei is that there is not enough of a break to justify another Kaddish (ibid.). Likewise, at Mincha of a fast day, although a Haftara is read, there is no Kaddish recited before the Haftara, and the Kaddish for Kri’at Hatorah is done before the ensuing Shemoneh Esrei.

Now we can understand why the simple choice to recite the Kaddish after Kri’at Hatorah is the ba’al korei. As stated, the basic idea behind the Chatzi Kaddish after laining is similar to that for the other occurrences of Chatzi Kaddish. In all other cases, it is the chazan who recites the Kaddish. (While most of P’sukei D’zimra is often lead by a different person, the chazan for Shacharit finishes it off with Yishtabach, the concluding beracha, and says Kaddish.) Since the ba’al korei is the one who leads the services of Kri’at Hatorah, albeit with the participation of the olim, he is the natural choice. Despite this, we did point out that there are those who infer (see Gesher Hachayim 30:8) from a statement of the Rashbetz that this Kaddish is properly done by a yatom. We do not feel it is necessary to take a strong stand on the issue, as each minhag has a basis.     

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