A Daughter Saying Kadish

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 11/8/2019

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A Daughter Saying Kadish

If one doesnt have sons, can a daughter say Kadish after their death?


In " [1], (1638-1702) he tells of a story that happened in Amsterdam: Something strange took place in Amsterdam and it is known there. One who didnt have any sons instructed before his death that ten men every day within twelve months of his passing should learn in his house for pay. After the learning, his daughter should say Kadish. The sages of the congregation and the leaders didnt protest. The says that it should have been protested since it was done publicly. The " [2] (1754-1826) brings the words of the and adds it seems the " [3] (1669-1749) agrees with him However, I saw a beautiful custom in Prague from earlier times that in a section of the Shul, elder blind and lame men and women would sit from morning until afternoon and say the entire Sefer Tehillim daily. And one who didnt have sons only young daughters, like five or six years old, they would say Kadish. But in a shul that is designated for davening, I never saw something like this. It is incorrect that a woman whether old or young should come to where men are davening


The Mateh Efraim[4] (1762-1828) writes one who has no sons only a daughter and instructs before he dies that ten men should learn in his house for pay and that should be followed with his daughter saying Kadish, he shouldnt be listened to and there should be a protest. And surely not to say the Kadish of Tefila If a woman wants to bring merit to her father, she should be careful at all times of davening to answer by Kadish with serious Kavana and Hashem will consider it as if she said the Kadish and fulfilled the command of her father. 


In the " [5] (1670-1733), he permits a daughter to say Kadish with a Minayn in the house as he writes in our case where he left a daughter that says Kadish in the house with a Minyan but in Shul she cant say Kadish. R Tzvi Hirsch of Liska[6] (1808-1874) after his daughter passed away permitted in his Beis Midrash his little granddaughters to say Kadish for their mother for the entire year.[7]


In 2010, R Ovadya Yosef was asked about a woman who had no brothers if she can recite Kadish for her parents. He permitted her to recite Kadish over her parents in a minyan at home.  R Ovadya stated that the woman couldnt recite Kadish in front of ten women- since Kadish may not be recited without a minyan- but could recite it in front of ten men after prayers or Divrei Torah were said.
R Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R Mordechai Friedlander Ztzl for close to five years. He received Semicha from R Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.  

[1] 222. Chavos Yair ("Villages of Yair") is a collection of responsa by R Yair Chaim Bacharach. The title Chavos Yair is a reference to his grandmother Chava- who he esteemed to a great extent- as well as to a place mentioned in Bamidbar 32:41 and elsewhere in the Torah. His grandmother Chava was a granddaughter of the Maharal and famed for her unusual scholarship and piety. Her husband R Shmuel was appointed rabbi of Worms. One Friday in 1615, the community suffered a pogrom and R Shmuel was a casualty, passing away at the age of 40. Chava raised her children but never remarried. That is, although the great Shelah HaKodesh sought her. And when she refused, he deemed himself to be unworthy of her. Chavas son, R Shimshon, was also appointed rabbi of Worms where he served until his death in 1670. Chava lived in Worms until her grandson Yair Chaims thirteenth birthday, at which time she undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but died on the way. R Yair Chaim served briefly as rabbi of Coblentz and returned to reside in Worms. Shortly before his death his father, R Shimshon, asked the community to appoint his son in his place. However, the community failed to select him. Besides his Halachic expertise, he had complete mastery of all the sciences, music and had a deep interest in history. He also wrote poetry. He compiled a 46 volume encyclopedia on many topics. In 1699, he was finally appointed rabbi of Worms where his father and grandfather had served before him. He served for only three years until his death in 1702.

[2] 2:229:10. This was authored by R Elazar Fleckeles who studied for a decade with his prime mentor, the Noda BYehuda, the rabbi of Prague, becoming his favorite disciple. He served from 1779 to 1783 as the rabbi of the Moravian community of Goitein (Kojetín) and then received a call to return to Prague to take up the posts of rabbi in a Kloyz and judge in the communitys extensive court system. He rose gradually to become the presiding judge in Beis Din, the highest religious post in Prague. In 1780, he was appointed Dayan in his native city Prague. He twice had audience with Emperor Francis I, and enjoyed a good relationship with the royal censor, Carl Fisher, even printing a Teshuva to Fisher in his responsa.

[3] This was authored by R Yechezkel Katzenellenbogen.

[4] Dinei Kadish Yasom, , 8. R Efraim Zalman Margolis received his Talmudic education at different Yeshivos in which he distinguished himself for the acuteness of his intellect and for his astonishing memory. His correspondence with the Noda BYehuda and other leading Talmudists soon gained for him a high reputation. He established a banking-house which proved so successful that within a short time he became quite wealthy. In 1785, he published his responsa, and in the following year, the rabbis of Brody elected him one of their number. Being of independent means, he opened in his house a Yeshiva of which he was the head. Several of his students became eminent rabbis.

[5] 2:93. Also Shaarei Teshuva, Orach Chaim 132:5. The Shevus Yaakov was a Dayan in Prague in his life among other things.   

[6] This was R Tzvi Hersh Friedman who was born Tzvi Hersh Frishman. He changed his last name to Friedman to avoid being drafted to the army. Even though the community enjoyed great prosperity, he wouldnt allow its leaders to raise his salary from one forint (currency of Hungary), which he received when first appointed to the position. He was a disciple of the Divrei Chaim of Tzanz. The money that he accrued from the people coming to seek his advice was distributed to the poor and to further the various programs he instituted. For himself, he built a humble home so as to accommodate the multitude of people who came to see him and ask his advice. Among his major accomplishments was the building of the Shul which was built in a grandiose manner and able to accommodate 500 people. It was one of the largest of his time in Hungary. The Shul was built without a foundation to commemorate the Destruction of the Temple- as a testimony to the temporary state of the Diaspora.

[7] Darchei Hayashar VHatov pg 7b 

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