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Kaddish starts: יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא. אמן:  בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ

The siddur HaGr”a has כּרְעוּתֵהּ (with a dagesh in the כּ) and all my other siddurim have כרְעוּתֵהּ (without the dagesh).

Please explain the difference in meaning.

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The general rule is that letters "בגד כפת" do have a dagesh when they appear in the beginning of a word, unless the word follows a word that ends with one of the vowels (אהוי), and there's a contextual connection between the two words (for example, "אחרי כן").

So here, by saying "כרעותיה" without a dagesh, you are actually saying that the two words "ברא כרעותיה" are connected, which means "[that He has] created according to His will".

This sounds right, but the Vilna Gaon actually says that the "כרעותיה" is not connected to "ברא", but to the beginning of the kadish ("יתגדל ויתקדש... כרעותיה") - i.e. that He will be praised according to His will. So there should be a slight pause between "ברא" and "כרעותיה", and therefore the "כ" has a dagesh.

Notice that a proof for the Gaon's way is the following prayer we say on Shabbat:

עַל הַכּל יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרומַם וְיִתְנַשּא שְׁמו שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדושׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא. בָּעולָמות שֶׁבָּרָא הָעולָם הַזֶּה וְהָעולָם הַבָּא. כִּרְצונו וְכִרְצון יְרֵאָיו וְכִרְצון כָּל בֵּית יִשרָאֵל.

The source for this prayer is Sofrim 14, 12, where it would seem that it couldn't be that "וכרצון יראיו" is connected to "ברא", but to the first part of "יתגדל" etc.

Sources:

  • Of course, the Gaon's way is strongly rejected by the expanded text "Kaddish HaGadol" where there is no Kiruteih, just descriptions of the world. If the main request of the initial part of Kaddish were Yitgadal [adverbs] Kiruteih (as the Gaon claims), then after the whole Di Atid Lichadata part the word Kiruteih would appear. But it doesn't. – Double AA Mar 3 '16 at 14:37
  • In Soferim how do you know Kirtzon Yereiav isn't connected to Tigaleh etc.? – Double AA Mar 3 '16 at 14:41
  • @DoubleAA Well I wouldn't say it's rejected, there's an omission of "כרעותיה" in the "Kaddish HaGadol" in both cases (i.e. it can't prove/disprove either side). As for the second comment, the text we say based off of it in prayer points to this interpretation, but any which way - the "וכרצון יראיו" isn't connected to "ברא", which should be good enough. – Cauthon Mar 3 '16 at 15:32
  • I don't follow anything you just said. In Kaddish Hagadol we have a more elaborate description of the world, so no need for the short form. It's just "in the world [with properties X]". Kemashmalan that khirutei is a property of the world. And the fact that it's not connected is not good enough because that weakens the entire comparison between that prayer and kaddish. Certainly kaddish hagadol is a better parallel then some random paragraph when taking out the torah. – Double AA Mar 3 '16 at 15:34
  • If you don't want to use the word "rejected" about the gaon, then fine, but at least admit it's very strongly questioned. – Double AA Mar 3 '16 at 15:39

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