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Many times there is more than one person saying Kaddish in shul. Unfortunately, because people say things at different speeds, and have trouble hearing each other across long distances, the Kaddish sayers go out-of-sync and end up at different parts of the Kaddish at different times.

My question is how to handle such situations with regards to answering Amen?

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Not an answer (which is why I'm not posting it as such), but in a local synagogue those who say kadish gather at the center of the room and recite it in unison. (Or most do, anyway, and the rest can hear them recite in unison so recite it with them.) –  msh210 Jun 14 '11 at 20:04
    
@msh210 That sounds like a very good practice. I've actually seen many cases where one Kaddish-sayer moved over to be near the other Kaddish-sayer. But it's unfortunately far from the norm. –  yydl Jun 14 '11 at 20:06
    
If the person that says Kaddish has no 10 that answers Amen after him it is his problem not the congregation's one, so I don't understand why the @msh210's practice is not a norm. –  jutky Jun 14 '11 at 20:13
    
Btw, The reason there are so many Kaddish's is so each mourner can say one on his own (they didn't use to combine them). If they are combined, I don't see why there are so many repetitions. –  Ariel K Jun 14 '11 at 22:35
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When Rav Herschel Shechter was saying kaddish, his practice was specifically not to say kaddish in sync with other people. He felt each person should say their own kaddish & those nearest him could answer. He disapproved of gathering the mourners together. This is based on "two voices are not heard" (Gemara Rosh Hashana among other places). –  Ze'ev Felsen Sep 7 '12 at 18:07
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2 Answers 2

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Yalkut Yosef (in Siman 55, #26): If the people are out of sync by more than toch k'dei dibur, then you answer each person when he reaches the right point in kaddish.

If they're within toch k'dei dibur, he lists 3 options in the following order (I don't know how to decide between them):

  • There are those who say you should wait until everybody finishes and answer all of them.
  • You can also answer the first person to reach that point, and it will apply to second person's kaddish as well.
  • Some people have the minhag of answering each person (saying amen twice)

To quote this in hebrew, because it is confusing

כשאומרים שנים או שלשה יחד קדיש, והאחד מקדים את חבירו, אם כל אחד בא בתוך כדי דיבור של חבירו, יש אומרים שימתין לאחרון ויענה אמן אחד ויעלה לכולם. וכן יכול להקדים ולענות אמן אחר הראשון ויעלה לו גם לשני. ויש שנוהגים לענות ''אמן ואמן'' על שניהם. ואם יש הפסק ביניהם אחר תוך כדי דיבור, יענה אמן אחר כל אחד ואחד

(Lastly, on yalkut.info, this halacha is numbered as #28)

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If the Hebrew is quoted accurately, it seems that the third option is to say amen v'amen after the second conclusion, which is not clear from your English paraphrase. –  msh210 Jun 15 '11 at 15:20
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The quotes came from the version at yalkut.info. My print version at home (from which I translated) doesn't have the quotes, but I think it does have the vav. I could be wrong in my translation. This is a complicated halacha in Yalkut Yosef, and the multiplicity of versions doesn't help. –  Chanoch Jun 15 '11 at 15:26
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even without the quotation marks, note: There is a halacha of saying amen v'amen when one hears two b'rachos end at the same time. (I don't have a source here now.) So I'm guessing that's what he means. –  msh210 Jun 15 '11 at 15:37
    
@msh210, the Artscroll Pitchei Halakhah book, "The Laws of B'rachos," mentions the reason to say amen v'amen is because that structure appears in Tanakh sometimes, so it is considered okay for us to use in our tefillah. I don't have a page number, but it is probably in the section about saying amein (if that exists). It's been a while since I learned that. –  Adam Mosheh Jan 31 '12 at 4:56
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My practice is to answer "amen" any time I hear the end of one of the lines to which we respond "amen", based on the principle brought down in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 215:2 that we assume people to have said b'rachos properly even when we do not hear the whole thing and the principle in Mishna B'rura (ibid. 9) that we answer "amen" even to b'rachos not in standard b'racha form.

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What if someone ends a line when someone else is about to (toch k'de dibur)? Do you answer the first, the second, or both? –  msh210 Jun 14 '11 at 22:42
    
@msh210 Aren't they then synchronized? –  WAF Jun 15 '11 at 21:52
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