Yahrzeit candle


Yahrzeit candle
Memorial candle that burns up to 26 hours
A yahrzeit candle lit in memory of a loved one on the anniversary (the "yahrtzeit") of the death
A yahrzeit candle beside a grave, inside a box designed to protect the candle from the wind.
A yahrzeit candle on a grave, inside a box designed to protect the candle from the wind.

A yahrzeit candle also spelled yahrtzeit candle or called a memorial candle (Hebrew: נר נשמה‎, ner neshama,[1][2] meaning "soul candle"; Yiddish: יאָרצײַט ליכט yortsayt likht, meaning "anniversary candle") is a type of candle that is lit in memory of the dead in Judaism.[3]

This kind of candle, that burns up to 26 hours, is also lit during the day of Yom Kippur or during Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony (Yom HaShoah).

Contents

History

The use of a yahrzeit candle is a widely practiced custom, where mourners light a yahrzeit candle that burns for 24 hours, on the anniversary of the death on the Hebrew calendar.[4] The word "yahrzeit" (Yiddish: יאָרצײַט yortsayt ) itself means "anniversary" (or more specifically "anniversary [of a person's death]") in Yiddish, originating from German Jahr, year, and Zeit, time. It is customary to light the candle inside one's home, or near the grave of the deceased. The candle is also lit on Yom Kippur and there are also customs to light a yahrzeit candle on the dates when yizkor is said (Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, final day of Pesach, and [the second day of] Shavuot). It is also customary to light the candle during the shiva, usually a larger one that lasts the entire seven days. The custom of lighting a yahrzeit candle comes from the Book of Proverbs 20:27 "The soul of man is a candle of the Lord."[4]

The custom of lighting a yahrzeit candle for the deceased is very widespread and deeply ingrained in Jewish life. Many Jews who are otherwise unobservant follow this custom.[4] Today, some people use an electric yahrheit candle that plugs into the wall instead of an actual candle for safety reasons.

Usage

The yahrzeit candle is lit during the week of Shiva (mourning). It is also lit at sundown on the eve of the yahrzeit (anniversary of the death) and at sundown preceding the start of Yom Kippur and at sundown preceding the last day of Succot, Passover and Shavuot. These holidays all have yizkor (memorial) in synagogue as well.

In culture

  • After Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in 1995, the young people who came to mourn Rabin at the Kings of Israel Square where he was killed were dubbed the "Candles Youth" (נוער הנרות, noar hanerot) after the many yahrzeit candles they lit.
  • Yahrzeit candles are often lit by many Jewish communities on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) in remembrance of those who were killed in the Holocaust.

Gallery

Further reading

References

  1. ^ Chana and Her Seven Sons, The Jewish Press, Chana Katz, December 8, 2004
  2. ^ Ner Neshama, Morfix Dictionary (Hebrew)
  3. ^ Memorial honors Yitzchak Rabin, The Daily Pennsylvanian, Brennan Quinn, December 6, 2000
  4. ^ a b c The Jewish Religion, Louis Jacobs, Oxford University Press, 1995

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • yahrzeit — [yär′tsīt, yôr′tsīt] n. [Yiddish yortsayt < MHG jārzīt, anniversary < jār (Ger jahr), YEAR + zīt (Ger zeit), time: see TIDE1] Judaism the anniversary of the death of a parent or other member of the immediate family, commemorated by the… …   English World dictionary

  • YAHRZEIT — (Yid.; Ger. Jahrzeit; lit. year time, i.e., anniversary), the anniversary of a death. For the determining of the yahrzeit, see mourning . The commemoration of the yahrzeit (on the Hebrew date of the anniversary) is observed both for outstanding… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Yahrzeit — /yahr tsuyt, yawr /, n. Judaism. the anniversary of the death of a parent, sibling, child, or spouse, observed by lighting a memorial lamp or candle the night before and reciting the Kaddish at the evening service of the day before and at the… …   Universalium

  • Yahrzeit — Yahr•zeit [[t]ˈyɑr tsaɪt, ˈyɔr [/t]] n. jud Judaism. the anniversary of the death of a parent or other close relative, observed by lighting a candle and reciting the Kaddish[/ex] • Etymology: 1850–55; < Yiddish yortsayt …   From formal English to slang

  • Bereavement in Judaism — Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Menorah (Hanukkah) — Hanukkah Lamp, Eastern Galicia or Western Ukraine, 18th to mid 19th century from the collection of The Jewish Museum (New York) …   Wikipedia

  • Kaddish — This article is about the Jewish prayer. For other uses, see Kaddish (disambiguation). Not to be confused with Kiddush or Kedusha. Part of a series of articles on …   Wikipedia

  • Jewish holiday — Candles lit on the eve of Shabbat and Jewish holidays For the Gregorian dates of Jewish Holidays, see Jewish holidays 2000 2050. Jewish holidays are days observed by Jews as holy or secular commemorations of important events in Jewish history. In …   Wikipedia

  • Menorah (Temple) — A reconstruction of the Menorah of the Temple created by the Temple Institute The menorah (Hebrew: מְנוֹרָה‎ [mənoːˈɾaː]) is described in the Bible as the seven branched ancient lampstand made of gold and used in the portable sanctuary set up by… …   Wikipedia

  • Activities prohibited on Shabbat — Main article: Shabbat See also: Shomer Shabbat and Rabbinically prohibited activities of Shabbat The commandment to keep Shabbat as a day of rest is repeated many times in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. (See for example Exodus 31:12 17 quoted …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.