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The Kaddish that we say is in Aramaic. However the Talmud (Brachos 3a) quotes an excerpt from Kaddish in Hebrew:

בשעה שישראל נכנסין לבתי כנסיות ולבתי מדרשות ועונין יהא שמיה* הגדול מבורך

(*The Maharsha amends שמיה to שמו, presumably as שמיה is Aramaic, not Hebrew like הגדול is.)

Is it possible that the original custom was to recite Kaddish in Hebrew?

  • See this article in Kenishta 3 by Moshe Chalamish – Double AA Jan 22 '17 at 16:01
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    Short answer: yes. Long answer: I need sources to post a real answer. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 22 '17 at 16:05
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt If you're up to a bit of research, I think Be'urei Hatefillah has a few articles addressing this issue. Of particular interest, perhaps, is the De Sola Pool book on Kaddish, which has a link on the BhT site, also. The De Sola Pool article is very long, though. – DanF Jan 23 '17 at 16:54
  • Some visible evidence of your hunch is the last phrase of the Kaddish which is entirely in Hebrew. However, it's also possible that this was a much later addition. I don't recall if "Oseh Shalom" was first in Kaddish or at the end of Amidah. – DanF Jan 23 '17 at 16:57
  • @DanF, I have a friend who's done some research on Nusach E"Y and he says that their kaddish was Hebrew in most recensions. He also prefers to hold by the Talmud Yerushalmi, as he's Israeli. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 23 '17 at 19:17

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