A funeral of my distant relative was held at Ofra cemetery (in Israel) which is close to the local cowsheds (probably on purpose). The smell was hardly bearable but I needed to say Kaddish (Yatom), as I was the closest male relative.

Is one allowed to say Kaddish and Amen in such a smelly place?

  • 2
    Why should this be different from anything else which can’t be said in a smelly place? – DonielF May 29 '19 at 18:02
  • @DonielF Is Kaddish a דבר שבקדושה? I don't know, just asking. Can you define that "anything else"? – Al Berko May 29 '19 at 19:14
  • @AlBerko Sure it is. Cf. Rema OC 56:1, Mishnah Berurah 55:2, Beis Yosef OC 55:1, Tur OC 55:1 and 565:1, etc. By "anything else" I mean even Shema you can't say in a smelly place (OC 76). – DonielF May 29 '19 at 19:18
  • I don't know, whether that matters, but kaddish doesn't contain a divine name. – Kazi bácsi Oct 27 '19 at 14:17

a. LeHalacha one should not daven in a place where it's considered putrid and disgusting when given a choice. Whether a child defecates or there's cow fertilizer and you smell it, the rule applies for both.

b. As an aside, Kaddish for the dead is a relatively recent innovation. In years past people would learn Torah to elevate the soul of who who departed. When more and more children unable to study became orphans some 300-400 years ago, a special Kaddish was instituted in place of learning (there's still the traditional "day of learning" today). See Rabbi Berel Wein's lecture on the Customs of Ashkenaz here. Not to say Kaddish Yasom shouldn't be said, but it's not Torah based and therefore should be approached as such, as emotionally distressing as it may be.

Hope this helps!

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  • How do you know #1 is true or that it applies here? – Double AA May 30 '19 at 11:46
  • How do you reconcile your answer with @DonielF's sources? Also if you say LeHalacha - where is it? Shu"A Paskens that Kadish is דבר שבקדושה and all things holy must not be said in smelly places. – Al Berko May 30 '19 at 11:56

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