Yahrzeit

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The Yahrzeit is a unique day on the Jewish calender marking the one year anniversary of a loved one's passing.

Kaddish

  1. The custom is to recite kaddish on the yahrtzeit of a parent. [1]
  2. One should start reciting kaddish on the friday night before the yahrtzeit. [2]

Aliya to the Torah

  1. One should try to go up to the torah for maftir on the Shabbat before the yahrtzeit of a parent. [3]

Fasting on the Day of the Yahrzeit

  1. There is a custom to fast on the day of a parent's death (yahrtzeit), every year following the death. [4] This fast should be observed on the date of the death itself, even for the first year. [5] Some poskim are not so strict with this fast because we are too weak to fast, and therefore encourage giving tzedaka and making an extra effort to learn torah [6]
  2. If Erev Yom Kippur is the Yahrzeit (annual remembrance of the day of the death) of one's parents, one should not fast but rely on the fast of Yom Kippur. [7]

Yahrtzeit Candle

  1. The custom is to light a candle on the yahrtzeit of a parent. [8]
  2. Some poskim say that you cannot use an electric light as a yahrtzeit candle. [9]

Wedding Celebrations

  1. One should avoid going to a wedding celebration on the yahrtzeit of a parent. [10]


Links

Sources

  1. Rama YD 376:4
  2. Kaf Hachaim 55:23
  3. Birkei Yosef 284:1
  4. Rama YD 402:12, Pri Megadim MZ OC 568:8
    • Levush YD 402:12 writes that since unfortunate things have happened to the person on that day, it should be a day of teshuva and introspection for him
    • Levush OC 685 writes that the reason to fast is to earn reward for the parent on this day of judgment for them
  5. Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Chaim minutes 4-6
  6. Minchat Yitzchak 6:135
  7. Maamer Mordechai (Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, English version pg 447, #17)
  8. Magen Avraham OC 261:6 writes that if one forgot to light it earlier, he can ask a non-Jew to light a yahrtzeit candle during bein hashemashot.
  9. Mishneh Halachot 5:70. See there however, where he quotes that Chacham Ovadia Yosef does in fact allow using an electric light.
  10. Rama YD 391:3, Yalkut Yosef Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 2:274 says if possible even sepharadim should be stringent for this even though it is only mentioned by the Rama