Lord's Prayer

Paternoster, Our Father

General Information

The Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, is the only formula of Prayer attributed to Jesus Christ. It appears twice in the New Testament: in Matt. 6:9 - 13 and in a shorter version in Luke 11:2 - 4. In Matthew the prayer is composed of an invocation and seven petitions, the first three asking for God's glorification, the last four requesting divine help and guidance. A final doxology, "For thine is the kingdom. . .," is found in some ancient manuscripts. Protestants customarily include the doxology in their recitation of the prayer; Roman Catholics do not, although it is added in the new order of Mass. The prayer, known in Latin as the Pater Noster, is the principal prayer and a unifying bond of Christians.

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L L Mitchell

L Boff, The Lord's Prayer (1983).

Lord's Prayer

Advanced Information

The Lord's Prayer is the name given to the only form of prayer Christ taught his disciples (Matt. 6:9-13). The closing doxology of the prayer is omitted by Luke (11: 2-4), also in the R.V. of Matt. 6:13. This prayer contains no allusion to the atonement of Christ, nor to the offices of the Holy Spirit. "All Christian prayer is based on the Lord's Prayer, but its spirit is also guided by that of His prayer in Gethsemane and of the prayer recorded John 17. The Lord's Prayer is the comprehensive type of the simplest and most universal prayer."

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)

Lord's Prayer

Advanced Information

The meaning of Jesus' pattern for prayer in Matt. 6:9-13 needs to be sought in the wider context of the units 6:5-13 and 6:1-18. The larger units indicate that Jesus is contrasting surface language with depth language in worship of God. The prayer is not a set form that he himself prayed or asked his disciples to pray, but illustrates the type of prayer appropriate to the person who worships deeply without hypocrisy. The entire Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) takes its cue from Jesus' declaration in 5:20: "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Three expressions of genuine worship are given in germinal form in 6:1-18: (1) almsgiving (2-4); (2) prayer (5-6, with 7-15 as pattern); and (3) fasting (16-18). The theme of 5:20 is applied to these three areas and is articulated in the warning, "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven" (6:1). The warning is against play acting before a human audience; those who give, pray, or fast superficially will have their reward (refrain a, repeated in 6:2, 5, 16). Those who pray genuinely will receive their reward from God who sees en to krypto, "in secret" (refrain b, repeated in 6:3-4, 6, 17-18). The sentence and paragraph flow of 6:1-18 (with 6:19-21 as summary) brings out the antithetic contrasts of surface/depth motifs and illustrates the dominical pattern of Jesus' teaching that is picked up by Paul in his contrasts of living kata sarka, "according to the flesh," and kata pneuma, "according to the Spirit" (e.g., Gal. 5:16-24).

The eschatological age has broken in with the coming of Jesus, and now the law is no longer inscribed in stone but in the heart (Jer. 31:33). True prayer is to be a deep and spontaneous response to God, not a superficial game played out in public simply to curry favor with the world. The flow of thought in the larger unit of 6:1-18, with the summary of 6:19-21, makes clear the serious contrast of opposites in which the Lord's Prayer is to be understood.

Luke's location of the corresponding prayer (Luke 11:1-4) in the immediate context of Mary and Martha ("Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;...Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her," 10:41-42) and the importuned friend and related sayings ("Ask, and it will be given you," 11:9; "how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him," 11:13) indicates his similar understanding of the underlying meaning of Jesus' ordering of values in the new age.

Viewed in context of Jesus' eschatological contrasts, the Lord's Prayer provides a summary model for properly ordering the priorities of the kingdom. Both Matt. 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4 preserve Jesus' order: first God, then human needs. While Jesus makes use of Jewish sources in forming the prayer, he does not design it to be used as a set liturgical piece but as a model for the responsive heart in view of the demands of the new age. The prayer follows a common outline in both Matthew and Luke:

  1. Petition to the Father for his glory

  2. Address to the Father for human needs

The doxology commonly used to conclude the prayer is not well attested in the manuscript traditions, though it is consonant with the original theme.

R G Gruenler

J. Calvin, Institutes 3.20.34ff.; F. Chase, The Lord's Prayer in the Early Church; R. Guelich, The Sermon on the Mount; J. Jeremias, The Lord's Prayer; E. Lohmeyer, The Lord's Prayer; W. Luthi, The Lord's Prayer, an Exposition.

Lord's Prayer

Advanced Catholic Information

Although the Latin term oratio dominica is of early date, the phrase "Lord's Prayer" does not seem to have been generally familiar in England before the Reformation. During the Middle Ages the "Our Father" was always said in Latin, even by the uneducated. Hence it was then most commonly known as the Pater noster. The name "Lord's prayer" attaches to it not because Jesus Christ used the prayer Himself (for to ask forgiveness of sin would have implied the acknowledgment of guilt) but because He taught it to His disciples. Many points of interest are suggested by the history and employment of the Our Father. With regard to the English text now in use among Catholics, we may note that this is derived not from the Rheims Testament but from a version imposed upon England in the reign of Henry VIII, and employed in the 1549 and 1552 editions of the "Book of Common Prayer". From this our present Catholic text differs only in two very slight particulars: "Which art" has been modernized into "who art", and "in earth" into "on earth". The version itself, which accords pretty closely with the translation in Tyndale's New Testament, no doubt owed its general acceptance to an ordinance of 1541 according to which "his Grace perceiving now the great diversity of the translations (of the Pater noster etc.) hath willed them all to be taken up, and instead of them hath caused an uniform translation of the said Pater noster, Ave, Creed, etc. to be set forth, willing all his loving subjects to learn and use the same and straitly commanding all parsons, vicars and curates to read and teach the same to their parishioners". As a result the version in question became universally familiar to the nation, and though the Rheims Testament, in 1581, and King James's translators, in 1611, provided somewhat different renderings of Matthew 6:9-13, the older form was retained for their prayers both by Protestants and Catholics alike.

As for the prayer itself the version in St. Luke, xi, 2-4, given by Christ in answer to the request of His disciples, differs in some minor details from the form which St. Matthew (vi, 9-15) introduces in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, but there is clearly no reason why these two occasions should be regarded as identical. It would be almost inevitable that if Christ had taught this prayer to His disciples He should have repeated it more than once. It seems probable, from the form in which the Our Father appears in the "Didache" (q.v.), that the version in St. Matthew was that which the Church adopted from the beginning for liturgical purposes. Again, no great importance can be attached to the resemblances which have been traced between the petitions of the Lord's prayer and those found in prayers of Jewish origin which were current about the time of Christ. There is certainly no reason for treating the Christian formula as a plagiarism, for in the first place the resemblances are but partial and, secondly we have no satisfactory evidence that the Jewish prayers were really anterior in date.

Upon the interpretation of the Lord's Prayer, much has been written, despite the fact that it is so plainly simple, natural, and spontaneous, and as such preeminently adapted for popular use. In the quasi-official "Catechismus ad parochos", drawn up in 1564 in accordance with the decrees of the Council of Trent, an elaborate commentary upon the Lord's Prayer is provided which forms the basis of the analysis of the Our Father found in all Catholic catechisms. Many points worthy of notice are there emphasized, as, for example, the fact that the words "On earth as it is in Heaven" should be understood to qualify not only the petition "Thy will be done", but also the two preceding, "hallowed be Thy name" and "Thy Kingdom come".

The meaning of this last petition is also very fully dealt with. The most conspicuous difficulty in the original text of the Our Father concerns the interpretation of the words artos epiousios which in accordance with the Vulgate in St. Luke we translate "our daily bread", St. Jerome, by a strange inconsistency, changed the pre-existing word quotidianum into supersubstantialem in St. Matthew but left quotidianum in St. Luke. The opinion of modern scholars upon the point is sufficiently indicated by the fact that the Revised Version still prints "daily" in the text, but suggests in the margin "our bread for the coming day", while the American Committee wished to add "our needful bread". Lastly may be noted the generally received opinion that the rendering of the last clause should be "deliver us from the evil one", a change which justifies the use of "but" in stead of "and" and practically converts the two last clauses into one and the same petition. The doxology "for Thine is the Kingdom", etc., which appears in the Greek textus receptus and has been adopted in the later editions of the "Book of Common Prayer", is undoubtedly an interpolation.

In the liturgy of the Church the Our Father holds a very conspicuous place. Some commentators have erroneously supposed, from a passage in the writings of St. Gregory the Great (Ep., ix, 12), that he believed that the bread and wine of the Eucharist were consecrated in Apostolic times by the recitation of the Our Father alone. But while this is probable not the true meaning of the passage, St. Jerome asserted (Adv. Pelag., iii, 15) that "our Lord Himself taught His disciples that daily in the Sacrifice of His Body they should make bold to say 'Our Father' etc." St. Gregory gave the Pater its present place in the Roman Mass immediately after the Canon and before the fraction, and it was of old the custom that all the congregation should make answer in the words "Sed libera nos a malo". In the Greek liturgies a reader recites the Our Father aloud while the priest and the people repeat it silently. Again in the ritual of baptism the recitation of the Our Father has from the earliest times been a conspicuous feature, and in the Divine Office it recurs repeatedly besides being recited both at the beginning and the end.

In many monastic rules, it was enjoined that the lay brothers, who knew no Latin, instead of the Divine office should say the Lord's Prayer a certain number of times (often amounting to more than a hundred) per diem. To count these repetitions they made use of pebbles or beads strung upon a cord, and this apparatus was commonly known as a "pater-noster", a name which it retained even when such a string of beads was used to count, not Our Fathers, but Hail Marys in reciting Our Lady's Psalter, or in other words in saying the rosary.

Publication information
Written by Herbert Thurston. Transcribed by Tomas Hancil. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

Lord's Prayer

Jewish Viewpoint Information

Name given by the Christian world to the prayer which Jesus taught his disciples (Matt. vi. 9-13; Luke xi. 1-4). According to Luke the teaching of the prayer was suggested by one of Jesus' disciples who, on seeing him holding communion with God in prayer, asked him to teach them also to pray, as John the Baptist had similarly taught his disciples a certain form of prayer. Obviously, then, the latter was of a similar character. From the Talmudic parallels (Tosef., Ber. iii. 7; Ber. 16b-17a, 29b; Yer. Ber. iv. 7d) it may be learned that it was customary for prominent masters to recite brief prayers of their own in addition to the regular prayers; and there is indeed a certain similarity noticeable between these prayers and that of Jesus.

As the following extracts from the Revised Version show, the prayer in Luke is much shorter than that in Matthew, from which it differs, too, in expression. Possibly both were in circulation among the early Christians; the one in Matthew, however, is of a later origin, as is shown below:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Father, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven so on earth. Thy Kingdom come.
Give us this day our daily [Greek: apportioned or needful] bread. Give us day by day our daily [apportioned] bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And forgive us our sins: for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [Addition in many manuscripts: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.] And bring us not into temptation.
The prayer is a beautiful combination or selection of formulas of prayer in circulation among the Hasidæan circles; and there is nothing in it expressive of the Christian belief that the Messiah had arrived in the person of Jesus. On the contrary, the first and principal part is a prayer for the coming of the kingdom of God, exactly as is the Ḳaddish, with which it must be compared in order to be thoroughly understood.

Original Form and Meaning.

The invocation "Our Father" = "Abinu" or Abba (hence in Luke simply "Father") is one common in the Jewish liturgy (see Shemoneh 'Esreh, the fourth, fifth, and sixth benedictions, and comp. especially in the New-Year's ritual the prayer "Our Father, our King! Disclose the glory of Thy Kingdom unto us speedily"). More frequent in Hasidæan circles was the invocation "Our Father who art in heaven" (Ber. v. 1; Yoma viii. 9; Soṭah ix, 15; Abot v. 20; Tosef., Demai, ii. 9; and elsewhere: "Yehi raẓon mi-lifne abinu she-bashamayim," and often in the liturgy). A comparison with the Ḳaddish ("May His great name be hallowed in the world which He created, according to His will, and may He establish His Kingdom . . . speedily and at a near time"; see Baer, "'Abodat Yisrael," p. 129, note), with the Sabbath "Ḳedushshah" ("Mayest Thou be magnified and hallowed in the midst of Jerusalem . . . so that our eyes may behold Thy Kingdom"), and with the "'Al ha-Kol" (Massek. Soferim xiv. 12, and prayer-book: "Magnified and hallowed . . . be the name of the supreme King of Kings in the worlds which He created, this world and the world to come, in accordance with His will . . . and may we see Him eye to eye when He returneth to His habitation") shows that the three sentences, "Hallowed be Thy name," "Thy Kingdom come," and "Thy will be done on earth as in heaven," originally expressed one idea only-the petition that the Messianic kingdom might appear speedily, yet always subject to God's will. The hallowing of God's name in the world forms part of the ushering in of His kingdom (Ezek. xxxviii. 23), while the words "Thy will be done" refer to the time of the coming, signifying that none but God Himself knows the time of His "divine pleasure" ("raẓon"; Isa. lxi. 2; Ps. lxix. 14; Luke ii. 14). The problem for the followers of Jesus was to find an adequate form for this very petition, since they could not, like the disciples of John and the rest of the Essenes, pray "May Thy Kingdom come speedily" in view of the fact that for them the Messiah had appeared in the person of Jesus. The form reported to have been recommended by Jesus is rather vague and indefinite: "Thy Kingdom come"; and the New Testament exegetes explain it as referring to the second coming of the Messiah, the time of the perfection of the kingdom of God (comp. Luke xxii. 18). In the course of time the interpretation of the sentence "Thy will be done" was broadened in the sense of the submitting of everything to God's will, in the manner of the prayer of R. Eliezer (1st cent.): "Do Thy will in heaven above and give rest of spirit to those that fear Thee on earth, and do what is good in Thine eyes. Blessed be Thou who hearest prayer!" (Tosef., Ber. iii. 7).

Relation to Messianic Expectation.

The rest of the prayer, also, stands in close relation to the Messianic expectation. Exactly as R. Eliezer(Mek.: "Eleazar of Modin") said: "He who created the day created also its provision; wherefore he who, while having sufficient food for the day, says: 'What shall I eat to-morrow?' belongs to the men of little faith such as were the Israelites at the giving of the manna" (Mek., Beshallaḥ, Wayassa', ii.; Soṭah 48b), so Jesus said: "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or . . . drink. . . . . O ye of little faith. . . . Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, . . . and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. vi. 25-34; Luke xii. 22-31; comp. also Simeon b. Yoḥai, Mek. l.c.; Ber. 35b; Ḳid. iv. 14). Faith being thus the prerequisite of those that wait for the Messianic time, it behooves them to pray, in the words of Solomon (Prov. xxx. 8, Hebr.; comp. Beẓah 16a), "Give us our apportioned bread" ("leḥem huḳḳi"), that is, the bread we need daily.

Repentance being another prerequisite of redemption (Pirḳe R. El. xliii.; Targ. Yer. and Midr. Leḳah Ṭob to Deut. xxx. 2; Philo, "De Execrationibus," §§ 8-9), a prayer for forgiveness of sin is also required in this connection. But on this point special stress was laid by the Jewish sages of old. "Forgive thy neighbor the hurt that he hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven when thou prayest," says Ben Sira (Ecclus. [Sirach] xxviii. 2). "To whom is sin pardoned? To him who forgiveth injury" (Derek Ereẓ Zuṭa viii. 3; R. H. 17a; see also Jew. Encyc. iv. 590, s.v. Didascalia).

Accordingly Jesus said: "Whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (Mark xi. 25, R. V.). It was this precept which prompted the formula "And forgive us our sins ["ḥobot" = "debts"; the equivalent of "'awonot" = "sins"] as we also forgive those that have sinned ["ḥayyabim" = "those that are indebted"] against us."

Directly connected with this is the prayer "And lead us not into temptation." This also is found in the Jewish morning prayer (Ber. 60b; comp. Rab: "Never should a man bring himself into temptation as David did, saying, 'Examine me, O Lord, and prove me' [Ps. xxvi. 2], and stumbled" [Sanh. 107a]). And as sin is the work of Satan (James i. 15), there comes the final prayer, "But deliver us from the evil one [Satan]." This, with variations, is the theme of many Hasidæan prayers (Ber. 10b-17a, 60b), "the evil one" being softened into "yeẓer ha-ra'" = "evil desire," and "evil companionship" or "evil accident"; so likewise "the evil one" in the Lord's Prayer was later on referred to things evil (see commentaries on the passage). The doxology added in Matthew, following a number of manuscripts, is a portion of I Chron. xxix. 11, and was the liturgical chant with which the Lord's Prayer was concluded in the Church; it occurs in the Jewish ritual also, the whole verse being chanted at the opening of the Ark of the Law.

On closer analysis it becomes apparent that the closing verses, Matt. vi. 14-15, refer solely to the prayer for forgiveness. Consequently the original passage was identical with Mark xi. 25; and the Lord's Prayer in its entirety is a later insertion in Matthew. Possibly the whole was taken over from the "Didache" (viii. 2), which in its original Jewish form may have contained the prayer exactly as "the disciples of John" were wont to recite it.

Kaufmann Kohler
Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901-1906.

F. H. Chase, The Lord's Prayer in the Early Church, in Texts and Studies, 3d ed., Cambridge, 1891; Charles Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, 1897, pp. 124-130; A. Harnack, Die Ursprüngliche Gestalt des Vaterunser, in Sitzungsberichte der Königlichen Academie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, 1904.K.


Jewish Viewpoint Information

Name of the doxology recited, with congregational responses, at the close of the prayers in the synagogue; originally, and now frequently, recited after Scripture readings and religious discourses in schoolhouse or synagogue. It is, with the exception of the last clause, composed in Aramaic. The following is the translation:

"Magnified and sanctified [comp. Ezek. xxxviii. 23] be His Great Name in the world which He hath created according to His will. May He establish His Kingdom during your life and during your days, and during the life of the whole household of Israel, even speedily and in a near time! So say ye 'Amen.'"

Response: "Let His Great Name be blessed forever and unto all eternity!"

"Blessed, praised, and glorified, exalted, extolled, and honored, uplifted and lauded, be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He ! above all the blessings and hymns [benedictions and psalms], the praises and consolations [the prophetic words], which are uttered in the world. So say ye 'Amen.'"

"May the prayers and supplications of all Israel be accepted by their Father, who is in Heaven! So say ye 'Amen.'"

Ḳaddish di-Rabanan: "Upon Israel, and the masters and their disciples, and the disciples of their disciples, and upon all those that occupy themselves with the Torah, whether in this place or in any other place, come peace and favor, and grace and mercy, and a long life and ample sustenance, and redemption, from their Father, in Heaven. So say ye 'Amen.'"

"May there be abundant peace from Heaven and life [the Portuguese liturgy inserts: "and plenty, salvation and consolation, redemption and healing, forgiveness and pardon, freedom and safety"] for us and all Israel! So say ye 'Amen!'"

Response: "He who maketh peace in His Heights, may He make peace for us and all Israel! So say ye 'Amen!'"

In place of the first paragraph, the Ḳaddish recited after burial has the following:

"Magnified and sanctified be His Great Name in the world that is to be created anew when He will revive the dead and raise them up into life eternal, and when He will rebuild the city of Jerusalem and establish His Temple in the midst thereof, and uproot all false worship from the earth, and restore the worship of the true God. May the Holy One, blessed be He! reign in His sovereignty and glory during your life and in your days, and in the days of the whole household of Israel, speedily and at a near time. So say ye 'Amen!'"


The Ḳaddish has a remarkable history. Originally, it had no relation whatsoever to the prayers, and still less to the dead. It was the doxology recited by the teacher or preacher at the close of his discourse, when he was expected to dismiss the assembly with an allusion to the Messianic hope, derived especially from the Prophets and the Psalms. Therefore Ezek. xxxviii. 23 is employed; and as the last redemption of Israel was, like the first, brought in connection with the Holy Name (see Pes. 50a; Pesiḳ. 92a; Ex. iii. 15), the emphasis was put upon the congregational response, "May His Great Name be praised for all eternity!" (see Sifre, Deut. 306). So great was the value attached to this response that the Talmud (Soṭah 49a) declares: "Since the destruction of the Temple the world has been sustained by the Ḳedushshah of the liturgy and the 'yehe shemeh rabba' [the Ḳaddish response] of the haggadic discourse." "Joining loudly and in unison in the congregational response 'yehe shemeh rabba' has the power of influencing the heavenly decree in one's favor, or of obtaining for one forgiveness," assert R. Joshua b. Levi and R. Johanan (Shab. 119b; comp. Midr. Mishle x. 10, xiv. 4). When Israel enters the synagogue or the schoolhouse and responds, "Let His Great Name be praised!" the Holy One, blessed be He! says: "Happy the king who is thus lauded in his house!" (Ber. 3a). The name "Ḳaddish" for the doxology occurs first in Masseket Soferim xvi. 12, xix. 1, xxi. 6; the Ḳaddish at funerals is mentioned ib. xix. 12: being addressed to the whole assembly, it was spoken in the Babylonian vernacular (see Tos. Ber. 3a). The two paragraphs preceding the last, which is a late addition, were originally simple formulas of dismissal by the preacher (comp. M. Ḳ. 21a). The "Ḳaddish of the students" still shows its original connection with the schoolhouse, and is a prayer for the scholars; occasionally, therefore, special prayers were inserted for the "nasi" or the "resh galuta," or for distinguished scholars like Maimonides (see Ibn Verga, "Shebeṭ Yehudah," ed. Wiener; "Sefer Yuḥasin," ed. Filipowski, p. 219).

The Ḳaddish for the dead was originally recited at the close of the seven days' mourning, with the religious discourses and benedictions associated with it, but, according to Masseket Soferim xix. 12, only at the death of a scholar; afterward, in order not to put others to shame, it was recited after every burial (Naḥmanides, "Torat ha-Adam," p. 50; see Mourning).

In the course of time the power of redeeming the dead from the sufferings of Gehenna came to be ascribed, by some, to the recitation of the Ḳaddish.

Redeeming Powers Ascribed to the Ḳaddish.

In "Otiyyot de-R. 'Aḳiba," a work of the geonic time, it is said, under the letter "zayin," that "at the time of the Messiah God shall sit in paradise and deliver a discourse on the new Torah before the assembly of the pious and the angelic hosts, and that at the close of the discourse Zerubbabel shall rise and recite the Ḳaddish with a voice reaching from one end of the world to the other; to which all mankind will respond 'Amen.' All souls of Jews and Gentiles in Gehenna will respond with 'Amen,' so that God's mercy will be awakened and He will give the keys of Gehenna to Michael and Gabriel, the archangels, saying: 'Open the gates, that a righteous nation which observeth the faith may enter' [Isa. xxvi. 2, "shomer emumim" being explained as "one that sayeth 'Amen'"]. Then the 40,000 gates of Gehenna shall open, and all the redeemed of Gehenna, the wicked ones of Israel, and the righteous of the Gentiles shall be ushered into paradise." The following legend is later: Akiba met a spirit in the guise of a man carrying wood; the latter told Akiba that the wood was for the fire in Gehenna, in which he was burned daily in punishment for having maltreated the poor while tax-collector, and that he would be released from his awful torture if he had a son to recite the Bareku and the Ḳaddish before a worshiping assembly that would respond with the praise of God's name. On learning that the manhad utterly neglected his son, Akiba cared for and educated the youth, so that one day he stood in the assembly and recited the Bareku and the Ḳaddish and released his father from Gehenna (Masseket Kallah, ed. Coronel, pp. 4b, 19b; Isaac of Vienna, "Or Zarua'," ed. Jitomir, ii. 11; Tanna debe Eliyahu Zuṭa xvii., where "R. Johanan b. Zakkai" occurs instead of "R. Akiba"; "Menorat ha-Ma'or," i. 1, 1, 1; Manasseh ben Israel, "Nishmat Ḥayyim," ii. 27; Baḥya ben Asher, commentary on Shofeṭim, at end; comp. Testament of Abraham, A. xiv.).

The idea that a son or grandson's piety may exert a redeeming influence in behalf of a departed father or grandfather is expressed also in Sanh. 104a; Gen. R. lxiii.; Tanna debe Eliyahu R. xvii.; Tanna debe Eliyahu Zuṭa xii.; see also "Sefer Ḥasidim," ed. Wiztinetzki, No. 32. In order to redeem the soul of the parents from the torture of Gehenna which is supposed to last twelve months ('Eduy. ii. 10; R. H. 17a), the Ḳaddish was formerly recited by the son during the whole year (Kol Bo cxiv.). Later, this period was reduced to eleven months, as it was considered unworthy of the son to entertain such views of the demerit of his parents (Shulḥan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah, 376, 4, Isserles' gloss; see Jahrzeit). The Ḳaddish is recited also on the Jahrzeit. The custom of the mourners reciting the Ḳaddish in unison is approved by Jacob Emden, in his "Siddur," and that they should recite it together with the reader is recommended by Ẓebi Hirsch Ḥayot, in "Minḥat Ḳena'ot," vii. 1. That the daughter, where there is no son, may recite the Ḳaddish was decided by a contemporary of Jair Ḥayyim Bacharach, though it was not approved by the latter (Responsa, No. 123; "Leḥem ha-Panim," p. 376). A stranger, also, may recite the Ḳaddish for the benefit of the dead (Joseph Caro, in "Bet Yosef" to Yoreh De'ah, l.c.). For the custom in Reform congregations see Reform.

Bibliography: M. Brück, Pharisäische Volkssitten und Ritualien, 1840, pp. 94-101; Hamburger, R. B. T. ii.; Landshuth, Seder Biḳḳur Ḥolim, 1853, pp. lix.-lxvi.; Zunz, G. V. 1892, p. 387.A. K.

-Ritual Use:

There are five forms of the Ḳaddish: (1) Ḳaddish di-Rabanan (Scholar's Ḳaddish); (2) Ḳaddish Yaḥid (Individual, or Private, Ḳaddish); (3) Ḳaddish de-Ẓibbur (Congregational Ḳaddish; this form of the Ḳaddish has two divisions-the Ḥaẓi Ḳaddish [Semi-Ḳaddish] and the Ḳaddish Shalem [Full Ḳaddish]); (4) the Burial Ḳaddish (the Mourner's First Ḳaddish); (5) Ḳaddish Yatom (Orphan's Ḳaddish), or Ḳaddish Abelim (Mourner's Ḳaddish).

Forms of Ḳaddish and Their Use.


The Scholar's Ḳaddish is recited upon the completion of a division of the Mishnah or of a masseket of the Talmud, or of a lecture by the rabbi or maggid. The students of the various yeshibot, or private scholars, are frequently called upon to recite a chapter of the Mishnah, after which, as a rule, the baraita of R. Hananiah b. 'Akashya (end of Makkot) is read, followed by Ḳaddish di-Rabanan, for the repose of the souls of the dead.


The Ḳaddish Yaḥid usually preceded a supplication for the satisfaction of worldly needs. The beginning of the so-called "Lord's Prayer" is an example of the formula used in early times, and resembles that contained in Tanna debe Eliyahu Rabbah (e.g., in ch. v. and xiv.). The Ḳaddish Yaḥid was also a response to the Ḳaddish recited by the synagogal reader. The prayer-book of Amram Gaon of the ninth century contains various forms (pp. 3, 10, 12, 13, 14, and 18, ed. Warsaw, 1865). The response of the congregation has since been curtailed to "Yehe Shemeh Rabbah."


The Ḳaddish de-Ẓibbur is recited by the ḥazzan at public prayer. This Ḳaddish consists of Ḥaẓi Ḳaddish and Ḳaddish Shalem. The Ḥaẓi Ḳaddish, up to "Titḳabbal," is said by the ḥazzan: (1) before "Bareku"; (2) after the morning "Taḥanun" (prostration); (3) after the "Ashre" of the "Minḥah" (afternoon prayer); (4) before "Wehu Raḥum"; (5) before the "'Amidah" (standing prayer), in the evening; (6) before "Wi-Yehi No'am," on Saturday night; (7) before the "Musaf" prayer; (8) after reading the Torah. The Ḳaddish Shalem is recited: (1) after "U-ba le-Ẓiyyon," at morning prayer; (2) after the "'Amidah" of "Minḥah"; (3) after the "'Amidah" for the evening; (4) before "Weyitten Leka," on Saturday night; (5) after the "Musaf" prayer.


The Burial Ḳaddish, recited immediately after the burial, is quoted in Soferim xix. (end). According to Maimonides this is the Rabanan Ḳaddish, and should be recited after study; this is the present practise of the Orient; but Western custom has reserved it for burials, at which the assembly joins in the recitation of the mourners up to the word "beḥayyekon" (Baer, "Seder 'Abodat Yisrael," p. 588).


The Ḳaddish Yatom, like the regular mourner's Ḳaddish, is the full Ḳaddish of the ḥazzan (with the exception of the "Titḳabbal" sentence), up to "Yehe Shelama." The Ḳaddish after the "'Alenu" is usually recited by the orphan. The Ḳaddish Yatom is said also after "Piṭṭum ha-Ḳeṭoret," "An'im Zemirot," the Daily Psalm, and "Bame Madliḳin" (on Friday night).

Rules of Precedence.

Concerning the precedence of the various classes of mourners as regards the right of saying Ḳaddish, there is a difference of opinion. The Ashkenazic custom gives the following order: (1) Jahrzeit; (2) the first seven days of mourning; (3) the first thirty days of mourning; (4) the first year, or rather eleven months, of mourning less one day. The Jahrzeit mourner has the precedence over all for one Ḳaddish. If several Jahrzeit mourners are represented, the Ḳaddishim are divided among them to the exclusion of others. If there are more Jahrzeit mourners than there are Ḳaddishim in the service, lots are drawn. After each of the Jahrzeit mourners has recited one Ḳaddish the rest go to the seven-day mourners. If there are no seven-day mourners, the thirty-day mourners recite them. The first-year mourner, in the absence of other mourners, recites one Ḳaddish after the Daily Psalm, and the Jahrzeit mourners all the rest. A minor who is an orphan takes precedence over an older person. A resident or a Jahrzeit mourner has the preference over a newcomer, unless the latter be a seven-day mourner, when their rights are equal. Mourners whose rights of precedence are equal decide among themselves by drawing lots.The Sephardic minhag, however, allows the mourners to recite the Ḳaddish jointly, but they are so distributed in the synagogue that the congregation may distinguish their voices at various points and respond "Amen." This custom is gradually being accepted by the Ashkenazic synagogues. In Seder R. Amram Gaon (p. 4) an explanation is given of the custom of bowing five times during the recital of Ḳaddish-at the words (1) "yitgadal," (2) "ba-agala," (3) "yitbarak," (4) "shemeh," (5) "'oseh shalom": the five inclinations correspond with the five names of God mentioned in Mal. i. 11. The seven synonyms of praise-"blessed," "praised," "glorified," "exalted," "extolled," "honored," and "uplifted" (the word "lauded" is omitted)-signify the seven heavens above. See Jahrzeit.

Baer, Seder 'Abodat Yisrael, p. 16, Rödelheim, 1868; Dembitz, Jewish Services in the Synagogue and Home, pp. 105-111, Philadelphia, 1898;

Landshuth, Seder Biḳḳur Ḥolim, Introduction, § 31, and p. 112, Berlin, 1867.A. J. D. E.

-Musical Rendering:

From the position of the Ḳaddish at the conclusion of each service, and more particularly from the employment of its shorter form, "Ḳaddish Le'ela," as marking off each section of the service, more importance came to be attached to the particular form of its intonation as the accompanying circumstances varied, than was due even to the nature of the doxology and the responses necessitating its public intonation. Following, too, the fundamental constructive principle of all synagogal chants, explained under Cantillation and Ḥazzanut, in consequence of which the same text varies alike in tonality and in melodic outline according to the importance of the occasion and to the esthetic expression associated with it, there have gradually shaped themselves in each of the traditional uses a number of tuneful renderings of the Ḳaddish which have become in themselves typical melodies of the day or of the service. As early as the fifteenth century such melodies were recognized; and the utmost importance was attached to their faithful reproduction at the point in the liturgy with which they had become traditionally associated (comp. MaHaRIL, ed. Sabbionetta, 43b, 49a, 61a, b, etc.).

Fixed Melodies.

These were probably the settings of the Ḳaddish, at least in outline, which are now most widely accepted; but most of those settings which exhibit formal construction are more likely later introductions due to the influence of contemporary folk-songs (see Music, Synagogal). For, originally, the model vocal phrase which, when amplified and developed to the text of the particular 'Amidah (comp. Ḥazzanut) with which it was associated, formed the intonation to which that prayer was recited, reproduced itself also in the Ḳaddish which immediately preceded the prayer. Such, indeed, still are the intonations in the ordinary week-day services, in the Sabbath afternoon service, those at the close of the Psalms, etc., in the morning service, or those before the "Musaf" of Ṭal and Geshem or the Atonement Ne'ilah, in the Ashkenazic, as well as most of the intonations in the Sephardic use.

Other settings of this class continue the intonation of the passage immediately preceding the Ḳaddish, as that for Sabbath eve in the Sephardic use (comp. De Sola and Aguilar, "Ancient Melodies," No. 9, London, 1852), or those of the New-Year and Atonement evening service in the Ashkenazic use. Others, again, such as the powerful, if florid, recitative associated with the penitential "Musaf" (see music), have been developed from traditional material independently of the associated service.

Representative Themes.

More formal in structure, and thus more nearly allied to melody according to modern conceptions, are the later, and more numerous, settings of the Ḳaddish which have been adapted from, or built on similar lines to, contemporary folk-songs. Several are far from solemn in character, as, for example, national or patriotic airs (the "Marseillaise" was employed for the Ḳaddish in Lorraine about 1830; and still more incongruous tunes have been used), or mere jingles like the festival evening melodies still utilized in England (comp. Mombach, "Sacred Musical Compositions," pp. 115, 117, London, 1881) or that often used in Germany after the Festival of the Reading of the Law (comp. Baer, "Ba'al Tefillah," No. 825, Göteborg, 1877; Frankfort, 1883). Others, enriched with characteristically Hebraic adornment, majestic or pathetic in themselves, have in turn become representative themes, like the prayer-motives of the ḥazzanut, typifying the sentiment prominent in the service or occasion with which they are associated. Such, for instance, are the obviously Spanish air known among Sephardim as "La Despidida," and sung as a farewell on the last day of each festival, and the beautiful melodies employed after the reading of the lesson from the Law among the northern Jews (see music).

A very curious and unesthetic custom formerly prevailed among the Ashkenazim of chanting the Ḳaddish, after the lessons on the rejoicing of the law, to a cento of phrases from melodies in use throughout the rest of the year, the version once employed in London (comp. Mombach, "Sacred Musical Compositions," p. 137) introducing fragments of no less than twelve such airs.

The congregational responses were originally toneless, a mere loud acclaim. To Sulzer is due the casting of them into the generally accepted shape. Other composers also have presented suitable definite melodic phrases. The tendency is properly to model the responses upon the tuneful material of the particular Ḳaddish itself (comp. Baer, "Ba'al Tefillah," passim, and Cohen and Davis, "The Voice of Prayer and Praise," pp. xx. et seq., London, 1899).

Cyrus Adler, Kaufmann Kohler, Judah David Eisenstein, Francis L. Cohen
Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901-1906.

Most collections of synagogal melodies present some form of the Ḳaddish or responses for it; see particularly those given in Baer, Ba'al Tefillah. Of especial interest, in addition to those enumerated above, are: Consolo, Canti d'Israele, Nos. 127, 302, Florence, 1892; as given in Sulzer, Shir Ẓiyyon, No. 128, Vienna, 1840; Naumbourg, Aggudat Shirim, No. 15, Paris, 1874; Baer, l.c. No. 1466 (both Polish and German forms); Marksohn and Wolf, Synagogal-Melodien., Nos. 11, 13, Leipsic, 1875; Naumbourg, l.c. No. 23; Pauer and Cohen, Traditional Hebrew Melodies, No. 11, London, 1892; Braham and Nathan, Byron's Hebrew Melodies, No. 3, London, 1815; Naumann, History of Music, Eng. ed., p. 82, London, 1886; Young Israel, i. 243, ii. 104 and 152, London, 1898-99; H. Zivi, Der Jahrkaddisch für Simchasthora, Leipsic, 1902; Nowakowsky, Schlussgebet für Jom Kippur, No. 1.A. F. L. C.ḲADDISH (La Despidida)

Lord's Prayer (in English, translated from Greek)

Orthodox Church Text

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day
our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

The Lord's Prayer

Historical Note

The exact wording of the Lord's Prayer the way YOU say it is PRECISELY CORRECT, right? Well, probably not, for several reasons. First, it is presented twice in the Bible, and the wording is different, as noted in the articles above. Second, the final Doxology which is nearly always added in Protestant Churches but not used in Catholic Churches, is very poorly documented in early Manuscripts, as noted above.

But thirdly, careful historical research has discovered that NO really early Manuscript includes the words after the word 'temptation'. Christian scholars now nearly universally agree that an early Scribe apparently wished to add some clarifying text to the Prayer, and he added in those final words!

This is not unheard of, as there are a number of other examples where it is very clear that Scribes had added or slightly modified wording during the process of Scribe-copying the Bible text. The changes never alter any actual meaning of any Verse, and generally were clearly intended to help later Christians better understand what (the Scribe felt that) the Original text had meant.

So even though we say the Lord's Prayer in a way that is slightly different than the exact Original wording was, it is generally universally agreed among modern Christian scholars that it would be extremely disruptive to millions of Christians to try to Teach people to now alter their recitation of the Prayer! Too many people would totally misunderstand the reasoning and instead take it as some sort of evidence that the exact wording of the Bible could not be trusted! So even though we recite the Prayer in a way that all modern Christian scholars know is very slightly incorrect, that situation will continue, probably forever!

It does NOT suggest any weakness regarding the Lord, the Bible or Christianity! It merely points out that we are all humans, and therefore not Perfect! (Our Church sees this matter to be a valuable Lesson on that regard!)

Also, see:
Society of Friends - Quakers

Book of Common Prayer



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