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

Praying Shacharit Early

By Popular Demand: When is it permissible to begin praying Shacharit? Many individuals must arrive at their places of work at a very early hour in the morning and would like to know when the earliest possible time to pray Shacharit is. Answer: Preferably, the time to pray Shacharit is from sunris......

Read Halacha

Question: Is it obligatory to stand during the Birkot Ha’Shachar (morning blessings) and the Birkot Ha’Torah (blessings of the Torah)?

Answer: There are certain blessings which require one to be standing while reciting them. There is a unique reason for why one must stand while reciting each of these blessings. For instance, regarding the blessing on counting the Omer, the Torah states, “From when the sickle begins [to make c......

Read Halacha

The Proper Order of Prayer for a Workers’ Minyan

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one should preferably not pray Shacharit before sunrise. Nevertheless, workers who must arrive at their jobs early in the morning and do not have an opportunity to pray after sunrise may act leniently and pray beginning from dawn which is calculated as......

Read Halacha

Praying for Spiritual Matters- Rabbeinu Moshe Alshich zt”l

We have quoted in the past Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l’s words regarding one of the “Harachaman” texts customarily recited in Birkat Hamazon, “May the Merciful One sustain us in permissible ways as opposed to forbidden ones,” that although our Sages teach us ......

Read Halacha


The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Personal Requests During the Amida Prayer- Maran zt”l’s Behavior

Question: May one add one’s own personal requests into the Amida prayer? What is the correct custom regarding this matter? Answer: Our Sages (Berachot 34a) discuss whether or not one may add personal requests into one’s Amida prayer and said, as follows: “One may never ask for o......

Read Halacha

Inserting Personal Requests in the Amida Prayer on a Constant Basis

Question: You have written in the Halacha Yomit that one may insert personal requests into the blessings of the Amida. Is this permitted even on a constant basis, i.e. adding personal requests in one’s Amida prayer every day? Answer: Indeed, it is permissible to add personal requests into t......

Read Halacha

Using Sifrei Kodesh (Holy Books) For an Alternate Purpose

Question: May one place one Sefer on top of or lean it against another Sefer so that it is easier to read from the Sefer? Answer: Some have the custom to take one Sefer, such as a book of Mishnayot, and lean it on an angle against another Sefer, such as a Siddur, so that it easier to read from th......

Read Halacha