Question: Is it okay to recite Kaddish silently?
Answer: Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch (Responsa She’mesh Marpeh, siman 5) writes that reciting Kaddish quietly defeats its purpose, which is to publicly sanctify G-d’s Holy Name. Kaddish is a call to the community to sanctify the name of G-d, which simply does not occur when Kaddish is said silently.
Rav Hirsch’s reasoning makes sense since we know that one may not recite Kaddish without a minyan. This fact suggests that there is an interrelationship between the mourner and the members of the minyan. The mourner, by reciting Kaddish, beckons and invites the community to publicly sanctify G-d’s Name.
This concept harmonizes well with the statement of the Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chayim 55:1) that the Anshei Knesset Ha’Gedolah ordained the recitation of Kaddish – a public sanctification of G-d’s name – in reaction to the public desecration of G-d’s Holy Name due to the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. Kaddish, therefore, must be said out loud since only in that manner does it serve as a public sanctification.
The Gemara (Shabbat 119b) states: Whoever says Kaddish with all his strength “opens for himself the gates of the Garden of Eden.”Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.
If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.