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In light of the answers given here Responding to kaddish in pesukei dezimro can anyone explain why the popular minhag is to answer brich hu at the kaddish before shmone esrei at maariv? There is semichat geulah letefilla which seems to be at least as serious as pesukei dezimra. Sources always appreciated.

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Why is the one saying the kaddish (as well as sh'mei d'kud'sha brich hu) any better. Perhaps a stronger question is why we say kaddish between geula and tefilla- something we don't do by shacharis. –  YDK Nov 23 '11 at 6:50
    
@YDK That is a discussion for itself. I'm just asking once we agree to say kaddish, why does everyone say the responses that are only minhagim instead of just the responses that are required midina. –  Double AA Nov 23 '11 at 14:08
    
Perhaps the issue of minhag vs din responses only applies when kaddish is being said at an appropriate place and you are not in an appropriate place. But if you are in that same place as kaddish, I don't know that there is a precedent for that distinction. –  YDK Nov 23 '11 at 15:28
    
@YDK I'm not sure why that distinction is relevant. Additionally, we do have precedent for ignoring the distinction regarding the rules of baruch hu uvaruch shemo: it is a minhag, yet we don't say it when it is assur to be mafsik such as when being yotzei the bracha or during pesukei dezimra (listening to the end of the chazzan's baruch sheamar). –  Double AA Nov 23 '11 at 15:35
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I'm going to throw this out as a logical answer without a source and see what others think. –  YDK Nov 28 '11 at 15:42

3 Answers 3

I don't have a source, this is just logical to me. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Kaddish is a tzibur prayer that was instituted to be said by a designated leader (shatz). When the tzibbur listens to that prayer, they are included. If, after saying shmei d'kudsha, the chazan praises "brich hu", it should not be any more of a hefsek if the congregation praises brich hu as well.

It is probably distinguished from the rest of kaddish said by the shatz (Yisgadal, yisbarach) because it is almost parenthetical. The Shatz praised "His holy name", we say brich hu.

This is different than Baruch hu uvaruch shemo during pesukei d'zimra where the praise is not a pasuk of zimra, whereas here, the brich hu is integral to the kaddish, which is, of course, not a hefsek.

This is also different than mixing hearing a bracha with saying a bracha (like kiddush, which is problematic acc. to some) since there is no requirement to personally say the kaddish, it just needs to be said.

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I've been thinking about this and I think what you are saying is that it's not a hefsek because it's like asking to pass the salt in that it is regarding and related to what's going on. If what's happening is kaddish, then talking about the kaddish or even better, participating in the kaddish is not a hefsek. Does that make sense? –  Double AA Dec 4 '11 at 17:32
    
I'm saying a little stronger. It's like saying amen to hamotzi (where pass the salt is a little more problematic). Amen isn't a hefsek because you are verifying the very bracha that is required- it's like you are saying the bracha. Here too, it is like you are saying the kaddish. –  YDK Dec 4 '11 at 19:44
    
I still think I like the weaker version of your answer better. –  Double AA Dec 4 '11 at 19:56
    
Perhaps you don't like the idea that the congregation is butting into the purview of the shatz? –  YDK Dec 4 '11 at 20:04
    
That might be it. We don't usually see the congregation saying the chazzan's lines. Also I don't know if the chazzan is being motzi the congregation through shomea ke'oneh -- I think it's supposed to be a responsive thing so there isn't a point for the cong to say the chazzan's lines out loud. –  Double AA Dec 4 '11 at 20:11

See MB 236 (2) [5] who explains (my translation; my additions in brackets) that our custom to interpose pesukim of (“Boruch HaShem leolom omain veomain” and) “yiru eineinu” and “kaddish” is because in the earlier times their shuls were in the fields and they were frightened to remain there until the time of davenning (=finishing) maariv. So they instituted to say these pesukim which correspond to the 18 mentions of HaShem’s name in the maariv Amidah (and they omitted the maariv Amidah) and they finished and left after they had said kaddish.

And now that that we have reinstituted to daven (the Amidah of) maariv in our shuls, we did not remove the original minhag. Nevertheless one must not interrupt with anything else. And there were some Gedolim who had the minhag not to say these pesukim.

IMHO, we see from the MB that the kaddish is part of the original minhag and was said after “Boruch HaShem leolom omain veomain” which was the substitute for the maariv Amidah. There would have been no problem in responding “brich hu” to this kaddish and this is part of the minhag that has not been removed. I think this is what the MB means by “Nevertheless one must not interrupt with anything else.” He implies that this is in a sense an interruption but permitted because of the original minhag.

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Interesting. I think there is room to differentiate between the minhag of BHL and the minhag of kaddish as evidenced firstly by the sefardim and israeli ashkenazim (oxymoron?) who say only kaddish and secondly by what chu"l ashkenazim do on friday night ie say only kaddish but no BHL. It seems the minhagim have different reasons behind them. Additionally, the minhag of saying brich hu only started in the last 400 years or so, well after the minhag of kaddish developed so the question still stands. –  Double AA Nov 28 '11 at 4:52
    
@DoubleAA Point taken on the difference. Do you have a source for the age of brich hu please? –  Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 29 '11 at 16:34
    
The earliest place I've seen it in the achronim is the Taz OC 56 sk 3 which was published in 1646. Note that the Rama about 100 years earlier makes no mention of it. –  Double AA Nov 29 '11 at 17:40
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Thank you everyone for your insight. I just thought I'd point out one other possibility: the "in hachi nami." Towards the end of this article, R Ari Enkin quotes R Mordechai Willig of YU to specifically not answer brich hu at maariv in the kaddish before shmoneh esrei. This is indeed also my practice.

EDIT: I now have (circumstantial) evidence that Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik held this way as well. See this pdf of Friday night services that claims to be according to his nussach. You'll notice that in all the kaddishes it says to say "brich hu" except the kaddish before shmoneh esrei at maariv! It seems he felt answering then was an interruption and not permitted.

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