At one or two points in "Kaddish", the congregation interrupts the chazzan in the middle of a sentence:

Chazzan: יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא / May His great name be exalted and sanctified

Congregation: !אָמֵן / Amen!

Chazzan: בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ / in the world which He created according to His will.


Chazzan: יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרומַם וְיִתְנַשּא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל שְׁמֵהּ דְּקֻדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא / Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honoured, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He,

Congregation (Some traditions): !בְּרִיךְ הוּא / Blessed be He!

Congregation (Some traditions): !אָמֵן / Amen!

לְעֵלָּא מִן כָּל בִּרְכָתָא וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא / above and beyond all the blessings, hymns, praises and consolations that are uttered in the world.

Translations from Wikipedia

It seems strange to me to interject these responses in the middle of a sentence, instead of or in addition to at the end of the sentence. Most of the time, when we say "Amen," it's at the end of a blessing.

Why do we interrupt like this in Kaddish?


In case this satisfies you, the Magid Meisharim discusses this in his own way.

The Beis Yosef quotes the Shiblei Haleket that since the ten prasises in Kaddish correspond to the ten commandments we separate the first two from the rest just as at mount Sinai the first two were separate, since we heard them straight from God:

ומפני מה הפסיקו בין "יתגדל ויתקדש" לשאר שבחות? מצינו באגדה, שעשרה דברות כלולים בעשרה מאמרות, ובקדיש עשרה שבחות כנגד עשרה מאמרות; וכשם שהיה הפסק בין שתי דברות ראשונות לשמונה אחרונות, ששני הראשונות מפי הגבורה והשמונה מפי משה, לכן הפסיק בין שתי שבחות ראשונות לשמונה אחרונות.‏

This made we wonder about the general theme of the Kaddish. Perhaps it is really all about these ten praises with a bit of parenthetical stuff. The Be'alma di Brah Kirusei, Veyamlich, Vikarev is mentioned once we are speaking of Hashem's name becoming exalted. Then we go back on topic with Yehei Shmei etc. If this is true, then we answer Amen right before going off topic.

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    I don't know about "satisfies," as I'd hope that there'd be explanations that work with the plain meaning of the text, too, but it certainly is an answer. Thanks! – Isaac Moses Dec 14 '15 at 19:02
  • Question: 1) I counted the שבחות and there are 11! (Yisgadal, Yiskadash, Yamlich, Yisbarach, Yishtabach, Yispoar, Yisroimam, Yisnasei, Yishadar, Yisa'ale, Yishalol). which one is not counted and why? – Ben Dec 9 '17 at 21:14
  • Another difficulty: We could still answer amen after "Be'alma di Brah Kirusei" and it would still separate the first 2 from the rest... So why the need to break up the sentence? – Ben Dec 9 '17 at 21:17

-His great name should be magnified and sanctified (amen) -In the world that He created according to His will And may He establish His Kingdom Sprout His redemption And hasten the arrival of His anointed one (Amen) - May it happen in your lifetime and in your days and in the lifetime of all the house of Israel very soon speedily and very soon and say Amen (Amen, may his great name be blessed forever and ever, blessed) - May his great name be blessed forever and ever. Blessed and lauded and beautified and exalted and raised up and glorified and elevated and praised the name He of the Holy One blessed be (amen) - Higher than any blessing and song praise and consolation that we could say in the world and say Amen (Amen) -And good life to us and to all of Israel and say Amen (amen) - He who makes peace above, He should make peace upon us, and upon all Israel and say Amen (amen)

translation from Chabad.org

It should be noted that unlike in English the word “and” can be used at the beginning of a sentence as well in lashon hakodesh. It does connote a continuation of the previous thought or sentence but isn’t necessarily part of the same sentence. Many of the parhyios which start with a “vav” which is the equivalent of the English word “and”. Additionally there are other sentences which are complete verse in the Torah yet when translated into English do not constitute an entire sentence. For example. "And the L-rd spoke to Moses, saying." (one place is behalosecha verse 1) I realize there are some small textual variations of kaddish. For the purpose of answering the question I had to choose one of them.

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    "His great name should be magnified and sanctified (amen) -In the world that He created according to His will" How is that not an interruption? How is this translation different than the OP's? How can you think this qualifies as an answer post when you don't even mention the word "interrupt" let alone discuss the OP's examples? – Double AA Dec 1 '15 at 6:22
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    That wasn't clear at all because the second sentence is apparently "In the world that He created according to His will and may He establish His Kingdom Sprout His redemption And hasten the arrival of His anointed one" which is not a grammatical sentence. Where is the predicate in the clause "In the world that He created according to His will"? In what way is that a sentence? (The Hebrew has the exact same problem, FWIW.) – Double AA Dec 1 '15 at 6:29
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    Maybe if you could show the sentences and explain how they make sense individually, that would improve your post. But since you can't, -1. (I note your link to Chabad.org gives no indication about sentence break location and isn't currently being used to support your claim.) – Double AA Dec 1 '15 at 6:34
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    Why are you spending so much time about how in Biblical Hebrew "and" can be used to start a sentence? Everyone knows "and" can be used to introduce a clause, even in English. This doesn't seem relevant as your proposed second sentence doesn't start with "and". (Sigh. I guess I don't think this post has any hope so I won't keep trying to help you.) – Double AA Dec 1 '15 at 6:35
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    @Dude, please edit to indicate clearly what you think the second sentence is. If you think it starts with "In [place] ..." with an "and" before the verb[s] that are meant to take place in said place, please show anywhere else in traditional Hebrew or Aramaic texts where such a construct is used. It strikes me as an unfamiliar enough that it seems an unlikely way to parse the paragraph. In cases like this, and I am unconvinced. – Isaac Moses Dec 1 '15 at 12:22

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