Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This morning, a few minutes after the minyan ended and had begun to disband, a man arrived saying he needed to say kaddish for his father. What we did (with no rav present) isn't particularly important, but now I'm wondering what we should have done. Several questions:

  1. Does halacha permit someone to say kaddish yatom who did not say any of the earlier prayers?

  2. If not and he did it anyway and there's a minyan present, do we respond (amein, y'hei shmei raba, b'rich hu)? May, must, must not?

  3. What about if there is no longer a minyan?

  4. If the answer to the previous questions is "no", are any leniencies available if the mourner is obviously upset? How do we balance compassion and correctness?

While the question arises from a specific incident I hope it's not seen as too localized. I'm interested in the principles behind such a case, not just a yes/no answer.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

Mourners' kaddish is said after any public recitation of Tanakh (and its close cousin, Rabbis' kaddish, said after public study of Talmud or other Oral Law). While most yeshivas don't conclude a daily lecture with kaddish, I'm told it's not unheard of.

So as long as there are still ten men around, he should recite a short chapter of Psalms out-loud or the like, then say the Kaddish. (Or some mishna/braita, then rabbis' kaddish.)

If there aren't ten men around anymore and he's just coming in now, I'm not sure what to say. The good news is that that Kaddish doesn't use G-d's name directly (we say "may His name be blessed", "before their Heavenly father"), so I don't think you'd violate anything by answering to a kaddish that shouldn't be said -- but as it wasn't a public study, it's not fulfilling its goal. Whether to answer the kaddish to make the fellow feel good, or not to answer, to make it clear the kaddish is ineffective, I don't know.

share|improve this answer
2  
+1. But re "I don't think you'd violate anything by answering to a kaddish that shouldn't be said": but answering is saying amen, which has pretty strict rules.... –  msh210 Oct 27 '11 at 14:46
    
@msh210, you mean like amen yetoma? (An amen "orphaned" from its blessing?) This isn't a halachic "amen" to a blessing per se, it's confirming the wish that His name be great. Not sure where that fits halachically. There's the discussion about answering "amen" if you're listening to a Torah lecture and the speaker pauses and makes a shehakol on a drink. But if the speaker says "I hope that so-and-so has a speedy recovery soon", is there a problem *amen*ing a "canned" good wish? –  Shalom Oct 27 '11 at 15:02
1  

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.