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Chapter 15: 1-3
Laws Pertaining to Kaddish

1. After the blessing Yishtabach, the chazon should recite the half-Kaddish. We may not recite Kaddish, Borchu, and Kedushoh, nor may we read the Torah unless ten adult males* are present. If ten men are not present when the congregation recites Yishtabach, but rather the quorum is completed afterwards, the chazon should not recite Kaddish, because Kaddish is recited only after prayers that were recited in the presence of ten men.

* {The Shulchon Oruch (Orach Chayim 55:4) mentions the custom of counting as child as the tenth. The Ramah notes that some authorities allow a child to be counted only if he hold a Chumash in his hands. However, many of the later authorities rule against counting a child at all.}

Therefore, the congregation* should wait before reciting Yishtabach until ten come. They can wait approximately half an hour, but they should not wait any longer. Rather, they should recite Yishtabach, and then wait. When the ten come together, they should first recite some verses from Psalms. Afterwards, the chazon recites the half-Kaddish.

* {The Mishnoh B'rurah 53:9 advises the congregation to recite Yishtabach and the chazon alone to wait until the minyan arrives before continuing his prayers.}

2. The term "adult" refers to a child who has completed thirteen years of life and begun the fourteenth. (We rely on the assumption that he has already manifested signs of physical maturity.) For example, a child who was born on Rosh Chodesh Nisan is not considered an adult until Rosh Chodesh Nisan - i.e., on the night of Rosh Chodesh Nisan after thirteen years of life he is considered an adult.

A person who was born in the month of Adar in a normal year, and the thirteenth year of his life is a leap year, does not became an "adult" until his birthday in the second Adar. In contrast, a person who was born in a leap year in the first month of Adar becomes an adult in the first month of Adar (should he complete the thirteenth year of his life in a leap year). However, if he was born in a leap year and the thirteenth year of his life be a normal year, regardless of whether he was born in the first Adar or the second, he celebrates his birthday in the month of Adar.

Thus, it may sometimes occur that a youth who was born before his colleague may become an adult after him. For example, two babies were both born in a leap year: one on the twentieth of the first Adar, the other on the tenth of the second Adar. If the year of their Bar Mitzvoh is a normal year, [the latter becomes an adult before the former].

3. Care must be taken not to take a head count of people to see if there is a minyan. It is forbidden to take a head count of Jews even for the sake of a mitzvoh, [as implied by I Samuel 15:4]: "and Saul gathered the people together and counted them using goats."

It is customary to count them using the verse [Psalms 28:9]: Hoshi'oh es amecho..., since it contains ten words.

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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.



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