What is Yahrzeit ?
The word ‘Yahrzeit’ is Yiddish, and is translated to mean “time of year.”
It is the anniversary of the Hebrew date of a death, commemorated annually. We mark the yahrzeit from sundown to sundown.
Remembrance is a central Jewish value, and we honor the memory of those who have passed by observing the day in a number of ways:
- Burning a 24 hour candle, focussing our thoughts on our loved one. There is no formal blessing or prayer recited when lighting the yahrzeit candle. Here is a suggested passage to recite at home:
"We give thanks for the blessing of life, of companionship, and of memory. Though our loved one is beyond our sight, we do not despair, for we sense our beloved in our hearts as a living presence. I light this Yahrzeit candle in loving memory of ___________________who has gone to his/her eternal resting place. May his/her soul be given life everlasting and may his/her memory always remain a comfort and source of inspiration."
- Attending synagogue services, reciting Mourner's Kaddish at the evening, morning and afternoon services. While a minyan ( quorum of 10) is required to recite the Kaddish, the El Malei Rachamim prayer may be recited at any time , at home, or at the cemetery.
- Giving tzedakah, charity, in memory of a loved one
- Visiting the cemetery.