Traditions of Kaddish

Jewish law requires that Kaddish be said on behalf of a person who has died. The seven family members that this applies to are: mother, father, spouse, son, daughter, brother and sister. It is part of the son’s duties to say Kaddish for a parent, however if he cannot, for whatever reason, then one may also hire someone to recite the Kaddish, a practice dating back over 500 years.
There is also a custom to say Kaddish for any Jewish person that there is no-one else to say Kaddish on their behalf.
Kaddish is said for the first time at the burial service and from then for eleven months at the three daily prayers (Ma’ariv in the night, Shacharit in the morning and Mincha in the afternoon). On various days throughout the year that there are additional services, Kaddish is also said then (Shabbat, Festivals and New Moon). The last time that Kaddish is said during the first year is on the Yahrtzeit (anniversary of the Jewish Calendar date of passing or burial – there are different opinions). After this, one should say Kaddish on the aniversary of the date of death.
The general requirement is to say Kaddish in the presence of at least 10 men over the age of Barmitzvah, which is thirteen years old.
If Kaddish was never said for a person in the past , there is no reason why one cannot start to say Kaddish on his behalf now.
This has been written in memory of Alan Green z”l ( Avraham Yitzchak Ben Toiva ) who passed away yesterday in London – 24 Tevet 5670.


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