Are you new to Judaism, or are you just trying to be emotionally present for a loved one from that religion as they struggle with the loss of a loved one? This blog contains all that there is to know about Kaddish Recital and Yahrzeit Candles and how to remember the passed loved ones appropriately. A Yahrzeit, which translates to “a year’s time” in Yiddish, marks the passing of a loved one. A unique candle known as a Yahrzeit candle that shines for 24 hours is lit according to Jewish tradition, or minhag, once a year. The candle is lit on the Yahrzeit of that person’s passing, as well as on special occasions and in the first few days of sorrow after a death.
For the same departed family members—parents, spouses, siblings, and kids—for whom one would chant the Mourner’s Kaddish, Yahrzeit candles are traditionally lit. However, there is no reason why someone who does not fit into one of these categories, such as a dear friend, grandparent, lover, or girlfriend, might not burn a Yahrzeit candle to commemorate the anniversary of their passing. If you are expected to go to a Kaddish Recital, and you don’t know the proper procedures, here is all you need to know.
Although burning Yahrzeit candles is not required by Jewish religious law, it has grown to be a significant aspect of Jewish life and grief. A memorial candle, also known as a yahrzeit candle, is burned in Judaism in remembrance of the deceased. Its Hebrew name means “soul candle,” while its Yiddish name means “anniversary candle.” On the eve of Yom Kippur or the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, this type of candle, which may burn for up to 26 hours, is also lighted to burn during the ceremony.
Why is a Yahrzeit Candle Lit?
Lighting candles is a significant aspect of many Jewish religious rituals, from Shabbat through Passover Seders. In Jewish tradition, the candle flame is frequently seen as a symbol of the human spirit. The Book of Proverbs, chapter 20, verse 27 is where the original reference between candle flames and souls first appears: “The soul of man is the candle of God.” Flames must breathe, adapt, grow, struggle against the dark, and eventually vanish, just like a human soul. Thus, the Yahrzeit candle’s flickering light aids in reminding us of the soul of our deceased loved one as well as the beautiful fragility of our own and our loved ones’ lives, a life which must be always welcomed and treasured.
On Which Dates are Yahrzeit Candle Lit?
It is customary to light a Yahrzeit candle on the following few days:
- Every day during the Shiva (mourning) week that follows a death.
- Every year, at dusk, on the Yahrzeit eve or the anniversary date of the death.
- Every year, at sunset before Yom Kippur begins, as well as at sunset before Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot’s final day. Synagogues typically hold their Yizkor Memorial Prayer Services during these times.
How to Light the Yahrzeit Candle?
Usually, on the Yahrzeit, special candles that burn for 24hrs are used, but any candle that would burn for 24 hours can be utilized. Since the Hebrew calendar starts days at sunset, the candle is lit at dusk when the Yahrzeit date begins. Although only a single Yahrzeit candle is typically lit per home, individual family members are also permitted to light their own candles. Place the candle on a protected surface if you plan to leave it unattended. Due to the candle’s 24-hour burn time, some families today choose to utilize a special Yahrzeit electrical lamp in its place.
Which Prayers You Can Recite?
There are no particular blessings or prayers that must be spoken in order to burn a Yahrzeit candle. The act of lighting the candle offers an opportunity to reflect on or commemorate the deceased. When the candles are lit, families may decide to use the occasion to exchange recollections of the departed. Some people repeat relevant Psalms like Psalms 23, 121, 130, or 142. Like any religious procedure, lighting a Yahrzeit Candles can require a lot of research and forethought before you attempt it, as it needs to be done just right.
The passing of a loved one is an emotional affair and needs to be handled carefully. If your loved one is mourning the loss of a friend or a family member, knowing what to do not only makes you feel more prepared but it will also make your special persona feel cared for and understood. While the internet can give you the most answers, it is also wise to reach out to your friend for more direction so that you get the details right.
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