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Bereavement & Burial

For more information about bereavement and burial, please visit the websites below:

Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel

Steeles Memorial Chapel

Hebrew Basic Burial

Prayers for Lighting Yahrzeit Candles

Jewish religious law (halachah) does not require lighting Yahrzeit candles in memory of a loved one every year at sundown. Although it is not part of halachah, the tradition of lighting a candle has become an important part of Jewish life and mourning, and it is considered an essential minhag or “custom” that honors the loved one and his or her memory. As is tradition, candles are lit on eve of the Yahrzeit, as well as every year at sundown preceding the start of Yom Kippur and at sundown preceding the last day of the holidays of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot. 

The website shiva.com cites a yahrzeit prayer in Chapter 20, verse 27 of the Book of Proverbs, which says:

"The soul of man is the candle of God." It asserts that the Yahrzeit candle reminds people of the fragility of life and encourages them to embrace their life and that of their loved ones. A candle is often believed to be a symbol of the soul. This is one of the core reasons that candles are such an integral part of the Jewish religion.

Simcha Bart of Chabad.org offers the following prayer when lighting the candle:

"I light this candle to bring peace to the soul of the name of your loved one, the son of or daughter of their father)." If the Jewish name of the deceased (or the deceased's father) is not known, the secular name may be used.

Others recite appropriate prayers from the Book of Psalms, Chapter 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd):

A song of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

אמִזְמ֥וֹר לְדָוִ֑ד יְהֹוָ֥ה רֹ֜עִ֗י לֹ֣א אֶחְסָֽר

He causes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.

בבִּנְא֣וֹת דֶּ֖שֶׁא יַרְבִּיצֵ֑נִי עַל־מֵ֖י מְנֻח֣וֹת יְנַֽהֲלֵֽנִי

He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

גנַפְשִׁ֥י יְשׁוֹבֵ֑ב יַנְחֵ֥נִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי־צֶ֜֗דֶק לְמַ֣עַן שְׁמֽוֹ

Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff-they comfort me.

דגַּ֚ם כִּֽי־אֵלֵ֨ךְ בְּגֵ֪יא צַלְמָ֡וֶת לֹא־אִ֘ירָ֚א רָ֗ע כִּי־אַתָּ֥ה עִמָּדִ֑י שִׁבְטְךָ֥ וּ֜מִשְׁעַנְתֶּ֗ךָ הֵ֣מָּה יְנַֽחֲמֻֽנִי

You set a table before me in the presence of my adversaries; You anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.

התַּֽ֘עֲרֹ֤ךְ לְפָנַ֨י | שֻׁלְחָ֗ן נֶ֥גֶד צֹֽרְרָ֑י דִּשַּׁ֖נְתָּ בַשֶּׁ֥מֶן רֹ֜אשִׁ֗י כּוֹסִ֥י רְוָיָֽה

May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for length of days.

ואַ֚ךְ ט֣וֹב וָחֶ֣סֶד יִ֖רְדְּפוּנִי כָּל־יְמֵ֣י חַיָּ֑י וְשַׁבְתִּ֖י בְּבֵית־יְ֜הֹוָ֗ה לְאֹ֣רֶךְ יָמִֽים

Sun, 17 February 2019 12 Adar I 5779