What is Yahrzeit
Yahrzeit is the anniversary of passing. The word yahrzeit (anniversary) comes from the Yiddish language (Yahr is the year, Zeit –time, or”Yom ha Shana” in Hebrew). A special commemorative procedure on the parents’ death anniversary is discussed in the Talmud. The deceased is remembered this day, tribute is paid to him, and close relative and friends meditate on the essence of the life of the deceased.
Yahrzeit is a special time for the soul of the deceased. It has a particularly strong connection with living relatives on this day. And it is important for the soul to be remembered.
- It is a custom to receive an Aliya (calling up to the Torah) on the Saturday preceding the yahrzeit. If the yahrzeit falls on one of the days when the Torah is read, it’s customary to receive an Aliya this day as well.
- The evening before the onset of the yahrzeit, it’s customary to light a 24- hour candle (yahrzeit candle, yahrzeit memorial candle). It’s preferable to use a wax candle, but one may use any other candle if it’s not available. yahrzeit prayer
- Kaddish is the main yahrzeit prayer read at the conclusion of Maariv, Shacharis and Mincha prayer services. Kaddish is a prayer recited for the deceased. It praises the Almighty and it is very important for one to read it for one’s deceased parents, siblings, or spouse.
- On yahrzeit, it’s customary to give more money to tzedakah, compared to other days, as it is a great benefit to the soul of the deceased. Moreover, it was customary to fast on the yahrzeit, so additional tzedakah is like buying out of this fast day, which is not observed today If a yahrzeit day is a Saturday, more money is given to tzedaka on Friday.
- It’s customary to visit the grave of the deceased on the yahrzeit, to read Psalms (number 33, 16, 17, 72, 91, 104, 130) and recite Kaddish there. If the yahrzeit falls on Saturday, you can go to the cemetery either on Friday until noon, or Sunday.
- It’s customary to set up a kosher buffet for family and friends for the elevation of the soul of the deceased. You can also set the buffet for members of the community.