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It is customary to bow at certain points when saying kaddish. The link is to a chabad site and I have seen bowing in other communities as well. At first sight (excuse pun) it appears to be a visual cue for the response.

Why is it done?

What is the source?

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Shulhan Aruch Siman 56, Shut Ish Masliah vol. 1. – Hacham Gabriel Apr 16 '12 at 20:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Sefer HaKadish page 213 note 2 brings in the name of the Pardes HaGodol in the name of the Rokeach that we bow 4 times in Kadish in connection with the 4 names in Malachi 1:11 (3 times Shemi and once Hashem Tzevakos)

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You have an answer to this question if you want to write it up. – Y ez Dec 3 '14 at 19:50

The earliest source I can find is the Tur (end of 56) who mentions that "Rav Nachshon wrote that there are 4 obligatory bowings, and one optional."

He then continues with an explanation for the 5 - corresponding to 5 names of Hashem... but since I don't understand what he wrote, I cannot transcripe it.

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Did you check the Beit Yosef there? He usually quotes earlier sources surrounding the Tur's rulings. – Double AA Oct 21 '12 at 15:42

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