Thursday, August 06, 2009

NHC Institute '09:Extremes of Kaddish--solo & speedy

One of the folks from my "Kaddish minyan" recently commented that, without the "kaddeishim" (the people who come to Shacharit/Morning Service) to say Kaddish Yatom/Mourner's Kaddish, there might not be a minyan for Shacharit (Morning Service).

I'm very used to saying Kaddish with a small crowd. In addition, never having been Orthodox, I'm used to Kaddish being led by the rabbi, cantor, or shliach tzibbur/baal t'fillah/prayer leader. So imagine how surprised I was on Tuesday evening at Maariv/Evening Service when I got up to say Kaddish and no one started it. After a second or two, the baal t'fillah got the hint and started leading, at which point I joined in. But the minute I joined in, the baal t'fillah dropped out, and there I was, reciting Kaddish by myself for the first time in my life. The same thing happened this morning. It's an odd sensation.

On the other hand, I've also been stuck with the speedy-gonzalez types. At my Kaddish minyan and in most other synagogues that I've attended, Kaddish Yatom is said at a slow-to-medium speed, presumably to accommodate the many folks who say Kaddish who don't normally pray at all and/or whose Hebrew, er, Aramaic is not up to a faster pace. So I'm really not used to having to say Kaddish (especially Kaddish d'Rabbanan, which is longer and a tad more complicated to begin with) at 90 miles per hour, and don't much appreciate missing parts of Kaddish just because I can't keep up.

Sigh. Ah, for the happy medium.


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

I've noticed the pace of kaddish is consistently faster at O synagogues, and I don't care for it. Also, in many O synagogues Kaddish is a free for all - each person says it at their own pace and you answer amen to the one you hear best.

There are exceptions - at the local Agudah there are a few mourners who make a point of getting together just before it is time to say kaddish. When you're not dispersed all over the shul it is easier to keep pace together.

Thu Aug 06, 11:12:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

it's actually the original Ashkenazic custom for one person to say kaddish at a time. i happen to find it more dramatic and meaningful that way.

Mon Aug 10, 10:54:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Having one person saying each mourners/rabbi kaddish probably results in hurting some people's feelings. It also may explain the multiplication in the number of kaddishes over time.

Mon Aug 10, 11:41:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Steg, I've heard that Kaddish used to be recited by only one person, but I agree with Larry that someone gets left out when it's done that way. Personally, I try to make my recitation of Kaddish meaning by saying it with kavannah (intent, focus), keeping in mind what the words actually mean.

"It also may explain the multiplication in the number of kaddishes over time." Larry, that's an interesting theory.

Mon Aug 10, 04:43:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"I've noticed the pace of kaddish is consistently faster at O synagogues, and I don't care for it." Likewise, Larry. Pity the poor chap who led Kaddish d'Rabbanan at "yeshiva-bocher (yeshiva-student) speed" at the minyan we attended at the Institute this past Shabbat morning. I got so frustrated at missing half the words that, when it came time for Kaddish Yatom/Mourner's Kaddish, I gathered my courage and belted it out at the top of my lungs, to drown him out--nobody's going to take away *my* Kaddish! I gave him such a lecture after services that he was still apologizing profusely the next day. I hope I wasn't too harsh.

Mon Aug 10, 04:54:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Leonard Felson said...

Recently, I had the opportunity to re-listen to an old tape of a class on the Kaddish led by Rabbi Alan Ullman. The class spent 90 minutes on about five words. Would that we could all appreciate the meaning of the Kaddish in such depth instead of reciting it at break-neck speed.

Tue Sep 29, 12:57:00 PM 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>