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Shabbat Parashat Teruma 5780

Ask the Rabbi: Kaddish after Anim Zemirot

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: In my shul, at the end of An’im Zemirot, the chazan (child) does not say “Lecha Hashem hagedula …” I understand that it is not permitted to say Kaddish after a shir (song of praise) without p’sukim. Can you provide me with sources to prove this?  


Answer: To start with, we at Eretz Hemdah basically agree with you. We wrote a teshuva (Bemareh Habazak VII:2) about whether it is proper to say a Kaddish at all after An’im Zemirot in a place where the minhag was not to but an avel wanted them to change the minhag, which he claimed was wrong. In footnote 4, we accepted the thesis to which you subscribe, that it is the p’sukim added (they were not in the original) to the end of the piyut that justify the saying of Kaddish.

In general, it is problematic to recite an unauthorized Kaddish. The Mishna Berura (55:1) compares saying too many Kaddishes to reciting too many berachot. However, we do not generally find in poskim discussing doubts about Kaddish indications of the same severity of an unnecessary Kaddish as we do regarding a questionable beracha.

Therefore, while we generally agree with you, we are hesitant to state as a simple fact that your shul’s (and we understand others as well) minhag is wrong. Therefore, we will see if we can be melamed z’chut on those who skip the p’sukim and recite the Kaddish.

We found a teshuva by Chief Rabbi David Lau in which he questions the thesis that the p’sukim recited at the end are there to justify the Kaddish. He points to the standard sources (see Mishna Berura 55:2) that state that for p’sukim to justify Kaddish there must be three p’sukim and that, after An’im Zemirot, only two p’sukim are recited. One can add to the apparent incongruence according to the Sha’arei Ephrayim (10:44 in a footnote) that the p’sukim need to be continuous (the ones after An’im Zemirot are from Divrei Hayamim and Tehillim, respectively). Therefore, Rav Lau posits that the reason for the Kaddish is that a major part of An’im Zemirot is based on adapted or reworded p’sukim.

One can claim there is a precedent for saying Kaddish after a shir without added p’sukim in Aleinu. Siddurim cite p’sukim there as well, yet the very broad minhag is to ignore them and recite Kaddish anyway, and perhaps a shir of this type is deserving of Kaddish in and of itself.

However, one can argue with these attempts to break the linkage between p’sukim recited after a shir and Kaddish. First, there are opinions that two p’sukim is enough (Beit David (Saloniki) 30); Bemareh Habazak ibid.; see Ishei Yisrael 15:(98)). The claim that the p’sukim must be consecutive is apparently not accepted. Regarding Aleinu, the Mishna Berura (132:10) points out that it has p’sukim mixed into it (three, albeit from different places in Tanach and interspersed in Aleinu). Therefore, it seems very likely that the p’sukim at the end of An’im Zemirot were intended to justify the Kaddish.

There is another factor which can work (at least if orchestrated well), even according to your assumption, in shuls that do not jointly recite “Lecha Hashem … .” What if, as is likely, some people in the shul do say the p’sukim even if the chazan does not? We have written about whether Kaddish can be recited after Pitum Haketoret when there are not ten people who recite it. The basic sources seem to indicate that six reciters justify Kaddish, even if the chazan did not recite the critical sections (see parallel case in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 69:1). While even one suffices when the Kaddish is classically required (see ibid.; Pri Megadim, OC, MZ 55:3), there is a machloket (see Magen Avraham 54:9; Aruch Hashulchan 55:9) whether a minority of a minyan suffices when the Kaddish is optional (as the one after An’im Zemirot is). So perhaps someone like you and another one or two who still recite the p’sukim before Kaddish suffice to justify the Kaddish.

So while the sources indicate that it is proper for shuls to recite the p’sukim after An’im Zemirot, shuls that do not make a point of reciting them also have whom and what to rely upon.

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