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Yahrzeit is the commemoration of the death of a Jew by a mourner (the child, sibling, spouse or parent of the deceased). The Yahrzeit date, which is calculated according to the Hebrew calendar, is the anniversary of the death, not the burial.
It is on this day that we light a Yahrzeit candle to honor the memory of the loved one who has passed away. Traditionally, the Yahrzeit prayer, which is the Mourner’s Kaddish is recited and the special memorial candle that burns for 24 hours is lit. The Yahrzeit candle should be lit after dark on the evening before the anniversary of the death and burn for a full 24 hours.
Prayer on Kindling a Yahrzeit Lamp
Eternal Rock of Ages.
In hushed reverence, I kindle this memorial lamp in loving remembrance on this anniversary of my beloved’s death. We have been taught that human souls are Thy candles. Through them Thou bringest light into the world. For the light of compassion and tenderness which my loved one brought into my life, I am everlastingly grateful. Help me, O G-d, to use the sacred memory of my loved one noble spur to consecrated living. May I perpetuate and transmit everything that was beautiful and loving about my loved one’s character. Keep firm my faith that we cannot go where You are not, and where You are all is well. Amen.
As the light is kindled say:
“Zecher tsaddik leevrachah.” The memory of the upright is a source of blessing.