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Often I find myself in the middle of some part of davening when the chazzan starts saying kaddish. Should I interrupt to answer or does it depend on which part of davening I am holding?

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I think there's an answer here about this somewhere. –  Seth J Jan 10 '13 at 21:07
    
related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/11429/759 –  Double AA Jan 11 '13 at 0:23
    
sort of related judaism.stackexchange.com/a/17486/759 –  Double AA Jan 11 '13 at 0:25
    
Are you asking about specific parts of kaddish, eg. Yehei Shmei Rabbah? –  Double AA Jan 11 '13 at 2:34
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are different rules depending on which part of Davening you are up to, and the rules also depend on which part of Kaddish is being said.

During preliminary parts of Davening (Berachoth, Korbanoth, Pesukei DeZimra, etc.):

  • Interrupt for any Amen

During Keriath Shema' UVirkotheha:

Interrupt between paragraphs (this is a technical term, not determined by the page layout of your Siddur) for:

  • Any Amen

Interrupt between verses (still technical, but a lot more intuitive than "between paragraphs") for:

  • Amen YeHei Shmeih Rabba
  • DaAmiran Be'Alma VeImru Amen

During Shemoneh 'Esreh:

During the actual 'Amidah:

  • DON'T INTERRUPT

During Elokai Netzor:

  • Interrupt between verses as in Keriath Shema'

After Yihyu LeRatzon (at the end of Elokai Netzor):

  • Interrupt for any Amen

SOURCES: Memory of the rules printed in Artscroll and Siddur Tefillath Yosef, as well as Jewish day school instruction from years ago. I believe their source is primarily Mishnah Berurah, but see the M"B itself for more details and slight differences of opinion brought by the Magen Avraham and Peri Megadim. Also see the Shu"'A and RaM"A for slight differences. First see O"C 66:3 and M"B there for the rules of interrupting K"S, then see O"C 122:1 and M"B 4 who equates Elokai Netzor to K"S. M"B on 66:3 also give a few Kol SheKeins about "Tahanunim" and Pesukei DeZimra.

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is this interrupting for Amen to a blessing or Amen to Kaddish or both? –  user2110 Jan 10 '13 at 21:34
    
@nikmasi, if I'm not mistaken, wherever it says "any Amen", it means for any Berachah to HaShem (as opposed to, say, a MiSheBerach). –  Seth J Jan 10 '13 at 21:51
    
@nikmasi, also note that there are a few other responses that are allowed during Tefillah that follow similar patterns, including Barechu, Modim, HaKel HaKadosh, Birkoth HaTorah, etc. –  Seth J Jan 10 '13 at 21:51
    
forgive my ignorance but does kaddish qualify as a bracha? if i say yisgadel v'yisgadash... it is a bracha levatalah? –  user2110 Jan 10 '13 at 21:59
    
@nikmasi, it is a Davar SheBiKdushah, which needs to be recited with a Minyan, but no, it is not a Berachah. The Amens of generic Berachoth, though, follow the same rules as the "regular" Amens of Kaddish (ie., other than Yehei Shmeih Rabbah and DaAmiran Be'Alma). –  Seth J Jan 10 '13 at 22:10
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Both Sidur Koren and Sidur Tefilas Kol Pe have a table that shows exactly where one should or should not interrupt for Kaddish. I will attempt to summarize later or see if I can find the table online.

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Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, in the appendix to his edition of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, prints a table for when this is permitted (Ashkenazi one from A. Bloom publishers, Sefardi one by himself). Remarkably, it is available online (p. 685 of this pdf).

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