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If a more distant family member passes, and none of the mourners (spouse, parents, siblings, children) regularly attend prayer services (minyan) - should another unrelated person say kaddish for the deceased?

  • What benefit (if any) does this give to deceased?

  • What benefit (if any) does this give to the mourners?

  • If the deceased has children, should the proxy recite kaddish for 11 months (as a child does for a parent), or only 30 days (as all other mourners do)?

marked as duplicate by sabbahillel, mbloch, Avrohom Yitzchok, Isaac Moses, mevaqesh May 17 '16 at 16:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • You question may apply not only when no relative attends services but also when no relative is male in a community in which women do not say kadish. – msh210 Jan 25 '12 at 17:36
  • @GershonGold thanks for the link. I specifically wanted to know point #3 above, which is not addressed at all by that other question - and therefore, not an exact duplicate. Also, I'm not asking "how do we know that someone CAN say kaddish for another", I'm asking "SHOULD a proxy be sought out". – user1095 Jan 25 '12 at 17:41
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    So maybe change the first two to the formulation in that last comment? – msh210 Jan 25 '12 at 17:50
  • Change what forumulation? It already says "should" not "can", no mention is made in this question about a source of minhag. It really is a different question. Even if kaddish by proxy is permissible (as addressed in the other question), if there is no benefit to the deceased and/or the mourners, I won't try so hard to arrange kaddish to be said for the deceased when the mourners are not frum (or possibly, all women). – user1095 Jan 25 '12 at 20:19
  • No, I meant removing your first two bullet points and replacing them with "should a proxy be sought out?" (which your question doesn't ask). I was thinking you might wish to do that because your first two bullet points address the reason for saying kadish, which is already addressed (also in the context of a proxy) in the other question. OTOH you might not. – msh210 Jan 25 '12 at 21:16

1) Arizal Shaar HaKawanat (see pg 15-16) says that the Kadish does not only take people out of Gehenam but also lifts people up and up in Gan Eden.

2) Doesn't help the mourners.

3) Only for 30 days.

  • HG, your first point seems accurate, but you should bring sources for the other 2. My impression from sefarim like Gesher haChaim is that when a child does a zechus, that helps the parents neshama (though it may work by proxy as well). So kadish helps the deceased because the child himself is doing a great mitzva of being mekadesh Hashem. I have even heard a rav suggest that kadish affects the deceased the same as any mitzva done by the child, but we also grant the child this extra great zechus which is (historically) done by just one person. The same with davening for the amud. – YDK Mar 13 '12 at 23:27
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    And why 30 days? Why not the entire 12 months? – YDK Mar 13 '12 at 23:29
  • Note that I have said kaddish for certain relatives for the entire 11 months because they had no-one to say kaddish for them (some at the express request of my parents when they were alive). – sabbahillel Jul 7 '15 at 12:48