jewish Funeral Guide

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Yahrzeit Observance

Yahrzeit / יארצייט is observed through:

  • fasting
  • lighting a Yahrzeit / יארצייט memorial candle
  • reciting Kaddish / קדיש and leading the prayer services
  • reciting the traditional memorial prayer
  • giving Tzedakah / צדקה — charity in memory of the deceased
  • visiting the grave
  • studying the Mishnah / משנה for the elevation of the soul

Yahrzeit observance is meant primarily for parents. Some of the practices of Yahrzeit, especially lighting a memorial candle, reciting Kadish and the traditional memorial prayer, should also be observed for those relatives for whom one is obligated to mourn and may be observed for other relatives and friends as well, especially if nobody else will do it.

One should be stricter in observance of a parent’s Yahrzeit and, preferably, should not plan any trips for that day, because one who is not traveling can better observe the Yahrzeit. He is more likely to fast, go to the cemetery and to the synagogue to recite Kaddish, lead the prayer services and study the Mishnah / משנה for the elevation of his parent’s soul. His parents, who troubled themselves for him every day of their life, deserve one day a year devoted to proper observance of their respective Yahrzeits.