Thursday, June 16, 2022

Yahrzeit Candles




     Parshas Hashavua
     בהעלתך את הנרות         
  נר ה' נשמת אדם משלי כ' כ"ז

Lighting a candle on the day of a Yahrzeit is not mentioned
anywhere in ש"ס, רמב"ם,טור,שו"ע* about

The first to mention נר נשמה is probably the כל בו on
הלכת יום כיפורים.
The כל בו writes to light a נר for deceased parents, on ערב יו"כ
so they will have a כפרה. The parents have a כפרה, because
of ברא מזכה אבא, Mitzvohs a child does, benefits the deceased

The טור writes (630) There is a special ענין to have lots of candles
in Shul on Yom Kippur.
The need for lots of candles was because some people
spend the whole night & day in Shul. Others spend there the
whole day till the evening. 

It is probable, that the חכמים tried to entice people to donate
נר למאור, therefore, attached the special סגולה of כפרה on יו"כ
for the מתים, a סימן טוב for the living and the פסוק of
נר ה' נשמת אדם for the Yahrzeit candle.

The Chasam Sofer (Shu"t #6:27) writes he is unaware of
a so-called מצוה רבה to light Yahrzeit candles at home or
even at the קבר.

It would seem from the Poskim that the sole purpose of a
Yahrzeit candle is to do a Mitzvah with it to light up the Shul
so that others will have light to Daven & learn.

Today with modern lighting the light of the candle is useless.
Perhaps, paying the electric bill would be more beneficial 
for the עליית נשמה than Yahrzeit candles.

*In ברכות נ"ג ע:א &  כתובות ק"ג ע"א is not referring to Yahzeit candles



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