Mourner’s Kaddish in Lithuanian Ashkenazic Pronunciation

There are various kinds of Kaddish in the Jewish liturgy, including Half Kaddish, Full Kaddish and the Rabbinic Kaddish. This page refers only to the Mourner’s Kaddish.

Note: Version I is a “common denominator” compilation based on many interviews with elderly Litvaks over the last quarter century. But it is not monolithic. In deeper Litvak pronunciation, each [oy] is pronounced [ey] (except in the far west, Zámet, where it is [ou] or [eu]). In many authentic popular variants, stress is shifted to penultimate position in many more words than in this version and posttonic vowels are reduced to shewa; various specific words have local, stylistic and tradition-based variants within the Litvak area.

A second, rather deeper Litvak dialect version on the spectrum (but far from at its end) is Version II, provided below.

There are various Lithuanian misnagdic rabbinic (“Gaon of Vilna”) traditions in which the first two words have ey instead of a:  Yisgadéyl v’yiskadéysh. At the other (“popular”) end of the spectrum, there are variants of these two words with (Yiddishized) penultimate stree: Yisgádal v’yiskádash, nowadays most evident in some Chabad communities.

Yeynesn Felender’s Litvish mourner’s kaddish on youtube;

More transcriptions on the scale of formal to intimate in the Ashkenazic Hebrew Manual

After each Oméyn (‘Amen’), the assembled answer: Oméyn.

After the words Brikh hu in the text, the assembled answer in some traditions oméyn and in some traditions a repetition of Brikh hu. 

During the Ten Days of Penitence, from Rosh Hashonna (Jewish New Year) through Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the word L’éylo (L’eýle in the more Yiddishized variant II below) is followed by the added word ul’éylo, giving the phrase L’éylo ul’éylo (or: L’éyle ul’éyle, loosely translatable as ‘higher and higher’). In the tradition of Lithuanian Hasidism (nowadays principally Chabad-Lubavitch), L’éylo ul’éylo is used only during the N’eíle (Neilah) prayer at the end of Yom Kippur. Note however that like classic Sephardic traditions, Hasidim always add the phrase v’yatsmakh purkoney v’yikoreyv meshikhey (immediately following  v’yamlikh  malkhusey) and the phrase is followed by Oméyn. Misnagdic (non-Hasidic) Litvaks do not say this phrase or respond to it with Oméyn; they stand silently and respectfully for the brief moment of its insertion when visiting Chabad congregations.

In many traditions, the end of the mourner’s kaddish is followed by a second’s pause and then the words (said in Yiddish in pensive, wistful tone, not chanted, sometimes, when at graveside, moving one’s gaze from the grave to the assembled): Zol er undz zayn a gúter béter (‘May he be a good interceder [in Heaven] for us’) / Zol zi undz zayn a gúte béterke [/béterin] (‘May she be a good interceder for us’) / Zoln zey undz zayn gúte béter (‘May they be good interceders for us’).

April 2014 /  late updated 7 May 2017 / by Dovid Katz


Yisgadál  v’yiskadásh  shméy  rabó

B’olmó  di  vró  khiruséy  v’yamlíkh  malkhuséy

B’khayeykhóyn  uv’yoymeykhóyn  uvkháyey  d’khol  Beys  Yisroéyl

Boagoló  uvizmán  korív  v’ímru:  OMÉYN


Yisborákh  v’yishtabákh  v’yispoár  v’yisroymám  v’yisnaséy

V’yishadór  v’yisalé  v’yishalól  shméy  d’kudshó:  BRIKH HU

L’éylo  min  kol  birkhosó  v’shirosó

Tushb’khosó  v’nekhemosó,  d’amíron  b’ólmo v’ímru:  OMÉYN

Y’héy  shlómo  rábo  min  shmáyo  v’kháyim

Oléynu  v’al  kol  Yisróyel  v’ímru: OMÉYN

Óyse  shóloym  bimróymov,  hu  yaasé  shóloym

Oléynu  v’al  kol  Yisróyel  v’ímru:  OMÉYN

●  ●  ●


Yizgadál  v’yiskadásh  shméy  rabó

B’ólmo di  vró  khirúsey  v’yámlikh  malkhúsey

B’khayéykhen  uv’yoyméykhen  uvkháyey  d’khol  Beys  Yisró(e)l

Boagólo  uvizmán  kóriv  v’ímru:  OMÉYN


Yisbórakh  v’yishtábakh  v’yispóar  v’yisréymem  v’yisnáse

V’yishádor  v’yisále  v’yishálel  shméy  d’kúdsho:  BRIKH HU

L’éylo  min  kol  birkhóso  v’shiróso

Tushb’khóso  v’nekhemóso,  d’amíron  b’ólmo v’ímru:  OMÉYN

Y’héy  shlómo  rábo  min  shmáyo  v’kháyim

Oléynu  v’al  kol  Yisró(e)l  v’ímru: OMÉYN

Óyse  shólem  bimréymev,  hú  yáse  shólem

Oléynu  v’al  kol  Yisró(e)l  v’ímru:  OMÉYN

●  ●  ●


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