Shabbat Parashat Vayechi| 5767
Ask the Rabbi
Question: On Mondays and Thursdays, we often give the third aliyah to someone who has to say Birkat Hagomel (a blessing of thanks to Hashem for extricating someone from a dangerous situation, including plane travel overseas). Should he make the beracha before or after Kaddish?
Answer: This answer is based on a Q&A in our sefer, Bemareh Habazak, vol. V, 6.
The Kaddish that is recited after kri’at hatorah relates to it. Therefore, there should not be too long a break between the end of kri’at hatorah (and its normal concluding beracha) and Kaddish. However, we have to look for precedents to see whether saying and answering Hagomel is a problematic break.
The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (69:5) says that if the chazzan at Mincha stopped between the end of Ashrei and Kaddish to put on a tallit, he should say a few p’sukim before Kaddish. This is because Kaddish relates to the p’sukim of Ashrei and putting on the tallit is too much of a break. Following this approach, one would assume that Hagomel is also too much of a break between kri’at hatorah and Kaddish.
We can counter this indication in a few ways. There are other breaks that are not deemed problematic. After kri’at hatorah of Mincha on Shabbat, we do not immediately recite Kaddish, so that Kaddish can be recited directly before Shemoneh Esrei. That Kaddish, though, also relates to the kri’at hatorah. The Magen Avraham (292:2) explains that hagba/gelila and reciting “yehalelu”are not considered a break. However, one cannot bring a firm proof from there because he explains that the “break” is considered a long ending of kri’at hatorah. One can claim that, in contrast, Hagomel is unrelated to kri’at hatorah and constitutes a halachic break. On the other hand, many, including the Mishna Berura (54:12) say that putting on tallit or tefillin is not a long enough break to require repeating p’sukim before Kaddish. Since he stresses the break’s brevity, not its status as an extension of the matter at hand, Hagomel should not be considered a break either.
Furthermore, “normal interruptions” do not count as halachic breaks between Kaddish and the preceding passages to which it applies. For this reason, we can say Kaddish Titkabel,which relates to Shemoneh Esrei, despite the breaks for Hallel, kri’at hatorah, etc. in between (Terumat Hadeshen 13; Mishna Berura 123:18). One can argue that since Hagomel is normally said at the conclusion of one’s aliyah, it is, at least informally, part of the kri’at hatorah process and not a halachic break (see Kaf Hachayim, OC 123:27 regarding a mi sheberach). One can counter that Kaddish Titkabel is different because it was originally intended to be long after Shemoneh Esrei. In contrast, the Kaddish after kri’at hatorah can and perhaps should be directly after the end of the last aliyah. However, the concept that normal procedure does not interrupt is probably still pertinent.
Another difference is that the ba’al koreh, who usually recites the Kaddish, is not the one who is reciting Hagomel. The Mishna Berura (ibid.) urged the chazzan not to talk between Shemoneh Esrei and Kaddish Titkabel to avoid an unwarranted break. However, we do not find that the rest of the congregation has the same restriction. Similarly, what the oleh does should not be so important. One can counter that the whole congregation responds to Hagomel,and the public interruption is more problematic than an individual’s talking before Kaddish Titkabel. However, the fact that the ba’al koreh does not recite Hagomel seems significant, at least if hedoes not respond.
After comparing our case to halachic parallels and making distinctions, we conclude as follows. All things being equal, it may be preferable for the third oleh to wait until after Kaddish to recite Hagomel. After all, there is no halachic requirement to connect Hagomel to an aliyah; indeed, one who says Hagomel does not need an aliyah.However, if he wants to recite it before Kaddish, we do not have sufficient grounds to stop him from doing so.
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