Lighting a Yahrzeit Candle

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It is part of Jewish custom to light a Yahrzeit candle for 24 hours during the death anniversary of a loved one.  This candle is also called a “memorial candle” and we light this in remembrance of the life that our loved one lived here on earth. We also light the Yahrzeit candle during Shivah which is a ritual wherein we mourn for our loved ones for seven days, during Yahrzeit, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shavout, and Passover.

Lighting the Yahrzeit candle serves as a reminder of the departed’s soul. It is believed that when we light the candle, we help our departed loved one to reach up to God. This ritual is obtained from the Book of Proverbs in chapter 20, verse 27. “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts of his being.” The light of the candle symbolizes life. Therefore, we light the Yahrzeit candle to commemorate the life of our departed loved one.

Some people light a candle which is left to burn for the entire year after the death of a loved one. The Yahrzeit candle should be lit after dark at the evening before the death anniversary of the departed. When lighting the candle on Shabbat, the candle should be lit from the flame of an existing candle.

The act of lighting a Yahrzeit candle is not Halakha but is part of Jewish tradition so no special prayers are necessary when lighting the candle, although some people say the Tehilim to help the soul of their loved one reach the light of God.

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Posted by on Wednesday, September 29th, 2010. Filed under Jewish How To. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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