What is that bowing in the Kaddish? Originally published December 8-9, 2017

Kaddish could generate dozens of these boxes.

Many people learn that the Mourner’s Kaddish is the Kaddish, but although it is important, there are four other forms of Kaddish

In the Kaddish, as we begin the last section, “Oseh shalom bimromav…,” many may take three steps back and bow first left, then right, and then center. 

This may remind you of when we recite the Amidah, at the beginning some may take three steps back and then three forward, and at the end take three steps back.

The idea - according to some - is that we are stepping forward into God’s presence at the beginning, and then at the end we are stepping back and bowing (as we also are taught to do in the presence of kings), without showing our behinds.  We are stepping out of God’s intimate presence.  (The steps back at the beginning are just to give us room to step forward.)

Now, some folks in some communities bow at additional places in the Kaddish, and that would require another box.

Appropriately, as we take our leave, we are reminding God that God provides peace, “ve’imru amen,” “and yinz should say, ‘so be it’.”