Kaddish is commonly referred to as the "Mourner's
Prayer" as it is recited for the deceased.
the complete text and translation of the Kaddish Prayer.
Rabbi Akiva, one of the great sages of the Mishna and
Talmud, instituted Kaddish circa 200 C.E.
Kaddish is a strongly held tradition that is widely
practiced in all circles of the Jewish community.
Kaddish is said for any member of the Jewish People
who has passed on.
Preferably, the deceased's son should recite Kaddish.
If the person had no sons or if the son is unable to,
then Kaddish can be said by a relative, friend or student.
One may also hire someone to recite the Kaddish, a practice
dating back over 500 years.
Kaddish is said on the day of the Yahrtzeit (anniversary
of the Jewish Calendar date of passing. Additionally,
Kaddish is recited every day for the first eleven months
after the persons passing.
Generally, the Mourner's Kaddish is recited once at
each of the three daily prayers.
Traditionally, also, the mourner should lead the daily
services. He will then be the one to recite the kaddishim
which are part of the regular prayers.
Both these and the additional mourner's Kaddish are
"credited " to the deceased.
By leading services, the total Kaddishim said would
be 16, as per the recommendation of the Kabbalah.
Kaddish needs to be said in the presence of a Minyan,
a quorum of ten, and only after the recitation of Torah
verses said in prayer or in study, either scripture
In Hebrew, the soul is called "Neshama".
Neshama is spelled with the same letters as the word
Mishna. Therefore, when fulfilling the requirement to
recite verses of Torah before the Kaddish, Mishna is
Yes, no matter if a Jew had a traditional burial or
not, the Kaddish can and should be said on the their
-The Jewish Spirit-
The Jewish soul is eternal. The world we know is only
one of many, and is known as the Physical World. After
the physical body and the spiritual soul separate, the
soul continues living in the spiritual worlds. The merit
that is gained through Mitzvot and good deeds in the
physical life determine the "spiritual level"
on which the soul will live on.
Once separated from the body (by death) the soul continuously
climbs to higher levels, growing constantly closer to
Kaddish being recited on a soul's behalf is what allows
it to climb to the next level or "world".
All good deeds done in their memory will be a merit
to them. Traditionally, the most common tributes are
the giving of charity and the study of Torah, specifically
Incidentally, the word Mishna has the same Hebrew letters
as the word, "Neshama," which is the Hebrew
word for "soul."
-Kaddish for Others-
The Torah tells us that all Jews are responsible for
one another - in all respects
In fact, there is a tradition of reciting the Kaddish
for "Meisei Olam", the collective of all Jews
who have passed on who may not have someone saying Kaddish
on their behalf.
The practice of hiring someone to say Kaddish dates
back at least to the 16th century.
It is especially helpful when the deceased had no sons
able to say Kaddish according to tradition.
For more information about this and related topics
we suggest reading:
The Kaddish Prayer by Artscroll
The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning
My Prayer by Kehot Publications
The Tanya by Rabbi Schneur Zalman, Kehot Publications