Halacha for Wednesday 30 Sivan 5778 June 13 2018

The Obligation to Stand While Kaddish and Barechu are Recited

Question: When the Chazzan or an individual receiving an Aliya to the Torah recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation replies “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must the congregation rise completely or partially or is there no obligation to rise whatsoever?

Answer: The Rama writes in his work Darkei Moshe quoting the Mordechi that it is customary to recite Barechu while standing. This is based on the Talmud Yerushalmi which expounds the verse regarding Eglon, king of Mo’av, “Rise, for Hashem has spoken to you”- Rabbi Elazar understood from here that one must rise while reciting “Amen Yehe Shemeh Rabba” and any other words of holiness.

Based on their words, one must stand while reciting “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” for even Eglon, king of Mo’av, stood when he was told the word of Hashem. It is therefore compulsory to stand while answering Amen to Kaddish and while reciting “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach”. Many other great Acharonim, including the great Mekubal, Rabbeinu Menachem Azarya of Pano, rule likewise.

On the other hand, Rabbeinu Chaim Vital, chief disciple of the saintly Ari z”l, writes that the great Ari z”l would not stand up while answering Amen to Kaddish and he said that the Yerushalmi quoted by the Rama is incorrect, for it is a mistaken passage erroneously printed in the Talmud Yerushalmi. Only when the Ari was already standing and the Chazzan began reciting Kaddish would he remain standing until the conclusion of the Kaddish at which point he would be seated again. Indeed, the Rama writes in the beginning of the aforementioned Darkei Moshe that the Maharil would not stand during Kaddish of the recitation of “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed.” Only if he was standing in any case and the Chazzan began Kaddish would the Maharil remain standing until the conclusion of the Kaddish.

Based on this, according to the opinion of the saintly Ari z”l, there is no need to stand during Kaddish or during the recitation of “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed.” Maran Ha’Chida writes that were the great Rabbeinu Menachem Azarya of Pano to have seen the words of the holy Ari, he would certainly have agreed that one may remain seated during Kaddish, for Rabbeinu Menachem Azarya ruled mostly based on the words of the holy Ari.

The great Rabbeinu Yosef Haim of Baghdad writes in his Sefer Od Yosef Hai that the custom in his hometown of Bagdad is that the congregation rises slightly while reciting “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed”; he writes that he searched for a source for this custom but he has not found one. This is indeed the custom is several places today. However, there is no basis for this custom, for according to the Ashkenazi custom which follows the Rama, one must be standing completely while reciting “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach” whereas according to the Sephardic custom, there is no need whatsoever to standing while reciting “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach.” All Sephardic Acharonim agree with the ruling of the Ari z”l that there is no need to stand during Kaddish or Barechu.

Summary: The Ashkenazi custom is to rise for answering Kaddish and reciting “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed.” According to the Sephardic custom, however, there is no need to stand during Kaddish and Barechu. Nevertheless, even according to the Sephardic custom, if one was already standing and the Chazzan begins reciting Kaddish, one should not be seated until the Chazzan concludes the Kaddish. If a Sephardic individual is praying in an Ashkenazi synagogue, it is preferable for him to stand during Kaddish and Barechu in order not to be the only one sitting while everyone else around him stands.

8 Halachot Most Popular

Pausing Silently in the Middle of the Amida Prayer

The Amida prayer must be recited with continuity. One may not interrupt one’s Amida prayer for any reason. In the previous Halacha, we have written that if one begins reciting the Amida prayer and senses a foul odor emanating from a baby and the like, one must stop praying immediately, for......

Read Halacha

If One Must Rise Before a Rabbi Every Time He Enters the Room

Question: The custom in our community is to rise every time the rabbi of the synagogue enters the sanctuary. Even if the rabbi enters the synagogue several times, we rise for him every time. Recently though, one of the members of the synagogue raised issue with this and said that the more observant ......

Read Halacha

Question: What should one do if one senses a foul odor, such as from a baby and the like, while one is standing and reciting the Amida prayer?

Answer: The Torah states, “And your camp shall be holy.” We derive from this verse that one may not pray, recite a blessing, or any other words of holiness when there is something repulsive, such as excrement or a foul odor in the area. Thus, one may not pray when a child is running a......

Read Halacha

Cooking by Non-Jews in Restaurants or Hotels

Question: We have written in the past regarding a restaurant where a Jew ignites the flame in the morning that although a non-Jewish cook places the foods on the fire, it is nevertheless permissible to eat in such restaurants and this does not constitute a prohibition of foods cooked by a non-Jew. R......

Read Halacha


Prayer Texts

The various texts of the prayer found among the various communities of the Jewish nation all have strong and holy roots. Therefore, one should not deviate from the prayer text that one’s forefathers were accustomed to. Hence, a Sephardic individual should not adopt the prayer text of Ashkenazi......

Read Halacha

The Obligation to Stand While Kaddish and Barechu are Recited

Question: When the Chazzan or an individual receiving an Aliya to the Torah recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation replies “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must the congregation rise completely or partially or is there n......

Read Halacha

Praying in Pajamas

Question: Can one pray while wearing pajamas? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have established that before praying, one must prepare a fitting place, proper attire, and cleanse one’s body and thoughts, as the verse in the book of Amos states, “Prepare yourself before your G-d, Isra......

Read Halacha

Praying Barefoot

Question: May one pray while wearing sandals or while one is barefoot? Answer: When one prays, one must prepare one’s environment, clothing, body, and thoughts accordingly, for one will be standing before the King of all kings. Respectable Garments While Praying The Gemara (Shabbat 9b)......

Read Halacha