Chapter 24: Matters of commemoration done during the first year

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Chapter 24: Matters of commemoration done during the first year

 

Introduction:

This chapter summarizes the different acts of commemoration that a loved one, especially a child, should do on behalf of the deceased throughout the mourning period. Although it is common belief that specifically Kaddish and leading the prayers has the power to elevate the soul of the deceased, in truth the same applies towards any Mitzvah that a son or daughter does after the passing of his father or mother, that it brings his father atonement and benefits his soul.[1] Furthermore, learning Torah and performing charity and good deeds is of even greater benefit for the soul than Kaddish Yasom and leading the prayers, as Kaddish Yasom was mainly instituted for children [under Bar Mitzvah], and hence the Avel must place his emphasis mainly on the above mentioned activities.[2]

1. Saying Kaddish:

The sons of the deceased recite Kaddish Yasom throughout the first eleven months after the death. See Chapter 26 Halacha 3!

 

2. Davening for the Amud/Aliyos/Maftir

The sons of the deceased are to endeavor to lead the prayers as Chazan, and receive an Aliyah by days of Torah reading, throughout the first eleven months after the death. See Chapter 25 Halacha 1-2; 7!

 

3. Lighting a candle throughout the first year?[3]

It is a proper custom to a light a candle throughout the first year [i.e. 12 months[4]] in memory of the Niftar.[5] [This can be accomplished by lighting a seven day candle every week.]

Leap year:[6] The Rebbe lit the candle throughout the year, up until the Yahrzeit, even in a leap year.

Where:[7] The Rebbe directed that the above custom of lighting a candle throughout the year only applies to the house of the Niftar, and not to the house of all the Aveilim. One is specifically not to light more than one candle.

What to say upon lighting the candle:[8] Upon lighting the candle one is to say that it is being lit “Leiluiy Nishmas Peloni [i.e. name of deceased] Ben Peloni [i.e. name of father of deceased].”

Who should light the candle:[9] The son [or daughter] of the deceased is to personally light the candle rather than delegating it to someone else to light on his behalf.

Lighting candles in Shul by Davening? See Chapter 25 Halacha 9!

  

4. Leading the Zimun:

It is proper for the son to try to lead the Zimun by Birchas Hamazon throughout the year [i.e. 12 months] of Aveilus.[10] This however is not necessarily a Chabad custom.[11]

5. Learning and spreading Torah:[12]

Learning Torah is of even greater benefit for the soul then Kaddish Yasom, as Kaddish Yasom was mainly instituted for children [under Bar Mitzvah], and hence one must place his emphasis mainly on Torah learning. One is to specially to learn Mishnayos, which is the letters of Neshamah, as explained next, and the inner dimensions of the Torah. Learning the inner dimensions of the Torah helps eradicate the spirit of impurity from the world and brings forward the time when man will cry no more.[13]

Learning Mishnayos: See Halacha 6!

Learning Gemara:[14] One is to try to make a Siyum Misechta in time for the Yahrzeit. See Chapter 28 Halacha 6!

Supporting Torah learners: See Halacha 7!

Spreading Torah:[15] One of the main merits a child can do for his father is to spread of Torah and Mitzvos. The merit that spreading Torah gives the soul of the deceased is much greater than even Kaddish. If necessary, one is to therefore hire someone to say Kaddish instead of him and continue, and even add, in his spreading Torah, if it will entail him to Daven without a Minyan.

6. Learning Mishnayos:[16]

The word Mishnah has the same letters as the Hebrew word Neshamah. Studying Mishnah on the soul’s behalf can deliver the soul from harsh judgments and elevate it to a higher level in Gan Eden.

 

A. The Mitzvah:

The Avel is to learn Mishnayos throughout the year of Aveilus in memory of his parent.[17] The Mishanyos is to be learned in order of the Shas.[18] One may learn Mishnayos in commemoration of the deceased even in the 12th month.[19]

Siyum Hashas: One is to try to make a Siyum Mishnayos [of all Shisha Sidrei Mishnah] in time for the conclusion of the recital of Kaddish after 11 months.[20] If this is not possible, one is at the very least to study the beginning and end of the Shisha Sidrei Mishnah, or of each Misechta.[21]

Mishnayos and Kaddish after Davening: See Chapter 25 Halacha 8!

B. Learning Mishnayos in the Shiva home:

See Chapter 17!

C. Distributing Mishnayos for the Shloshim:

It is a great honor for the departed soul when others study Torah on its behalf. For this reason, it is customary to divide the study of all the tractates of the Mishnah amongst friends and family, completing it by the Shloshim.

 

D. Learning Mishnayos according to the name of the deceased:[22]

It is a widespread custom to study chapters of Mishnayos in accordance to the name of the deceased, in addition to studying Mishnayos according to the order.[23] One studies one chapter of Mishnayos per letter, choosing those chapters that begin with the letters of the name. For example, if the name is אברהם then one begins with a chapter that begins with an א and then continues with a chapter that begins with a ב and so on and so forth. In the event that there are two of the same letters in the name, one is nevertheless to study a full chapter for each letter. However, it is not necessary to study different chapters for each repeated letter, and one may repeat the study of the same chapter.[24]

The name of the parent:[25] When learning Mishnayos in accordance to the letters of the name of the deceased, one studies only in correspondence the name of the deceased and not the name of his parent.

Determining the spelling of the name of the Niftar:[26] One is to follow the name that the deceased used to receive an Aliyah to the Torah. If there are several ways of spelling the name, then one is to follow the spelling that the deceased used to sign his name.

When is one to study Mishnayos according to the name? It is customary to study Mishnayos in accordance to the name of the Niftar upon visiting his grave and on the day of the Yahrzeit.

Prayer after Mishnayos:[27] It is not the custom amongst Chabad Chassidim to recite the accustomed prayer printed in Siddurim after the recital of Mishnayos.

7. Charity:[28]

The Avel is to give charity prior to davening Shacharis and Mincha throughout the year [i.e. 12 months] of Aveilus in memory of his parent. This is of even greater benefit for the soul than Kaddish Yasom, as Kaddish Yasom was mainly instituted for children [under Bar Mitzvah], and hence he must place his emphasis mainly on matters such as charity.[29] It is better to donate a small sum of coins each day than to give a single lump sum. The amount given should be varied each time, so it does not enter the status of a vow. The accumulated moneys should be distributed to various charities on the eve of the following Rosh Chodesh.[30]

Auspicious days of charity: The Rebbe Rashab instructed that during the year of Aveilus, after his passing, his wife should distribute charity every Monday, Thursday as well as Erev Shabbos and Erev Rosh Chodesh. Preferably, it should be given directly to the poor on that same day.

Building a Shul and Torah institution:[31] It is customary to donate money to a Shul and help in its construction in merit of the deceased. The same applies towards all Torah institutions. This especially applies towards institutions that the deceased worked in, or placed effort in expanding.[32]

Supporting Torah learners:[33] One of the greatest merits one can give the deceased is to support a Torah learner in his name. This takes priority even over writing a Sefer Torah or building a Shul in his memory. The Rebbe once suggested to parents who lost a young child r”l that they should take upon themselves the pay the tuition of a child in Talmud Torah until Bar Mitzvah.[34]

8. Writing a Sefer Torah and donating Sefarim to Shul’s and libraries:[35]

It is a proper act to donate Sefarim to a Shul or Beis Midrash in merit of the deceased and write on it the name of the deceased and the name of his/her father, in order so the soul receive benefit each time the Sefer is used. The Rebbe once suggested for Kuntreisim of Chassidus to be published and distributed in the merit of the deceased, and the people who learn from it will do so in his memory. The name of the deceased and the name of his father is to be published for them to see.[36]

Writing a Sefer Torah:[37] One of the main Jewish customs that is performed in commemoration of a deceased is to write a Sefer Torah in their name. The death of a Jew is considered as if a Sefer Torah was burnt[38], and hence by writing a Sefer Torah one fixes this damage. Nonetheless, it is of greater merit to support Torah learners, than to write a Sefer Torah on one’s behalf.[39] 

9. Performing a Mitzvah:[40]

It is proper for the children, sons and daughter to strengthen themselves in a specific Mitzvah in honor of their parent. This Mitzvah is even more precious than the Kaddish itself. It is proper for a parent to ask of his children to strengthen themselves in this Mitzvah prior to his passing. [When performing any deed in honor of the departed, some have the custom to say, “I am doing this in merit of the soul of [his/her Hebrew name, and that of the father].”]

10. Picture of deceased:[41]

It is proper for one to have a picture of his father before him in order to encourage him in going in the path of Torah and Mitzvos.

 

11. Mentioning Zal or Hakam when mentioning the name of the deceased:

Upon mentioning ones deceased father or mother within the 12 months, one is to say “Hareini Kaparas Mishkavo [i.e. Hakam/הכ”מ].” After 12 months, one is to say “Zichronam Livracha.” See Chapter 23 Halacha 18 for the full details of this subject!!

12. Visiting the grave:

It is customary to visit the grave of the deceased on certain dates throughout the first year of mourning [i.e. end of Shiva, Shloshim, end of 12 months], and in future years, on the day of the Yahrzeit. See Chapter 31 Halacha 3 for the full details of this subject!

13. Eulogies:[42]

Eulogies may be given throughout the first year after the passing. After the conclusion of the 12 months of mourning, one no longer eulogizes the deceased. This applies even in a leap year.

14. Yizkor:

It is an Ashkenazi custom to recite Yizkor on the last days of the three festivals. See Chapter 29 for the full details of this subject!

 

15. Writing the name of the deceased for Iluiy Nishmas:

It is customary to write the name of the deceased upon giving a dedication in his memory, in order so people see the name and Daven or learn in his merit. Whenever one writes the name of the deceased for the sake of Iluiy Nishmas, one is to write his or her name and the name of his or her father.[43] The name is to precede the names of the dedicators, such as “In memory of so and so, dedicated by so and so”, and not the opposite “Dedicated by so and so in memory of so and so.”[44]

16. Planting trees:[45]

Some are accustomed to plant trees, especially in Eretz Yisrael, in memory of the deceased. This custom does not have any source in Torah literature, and is a recent development. The Rebbe was not fond of this custom, due to a number of reasons, although abstained from publicizing this matter due to the potential loss of revenue it may cause to charity campaigns.

17. Establishing a memorial?[46]

There is no source in Jewish literature or culture for establishing a tombstone, or memorial, for a deceased outside of his area of burial.

______________________________

[1] Yeish Nochalin Hakdama [Father of Shelah]; Lechem Hapanim, brought in Beis Lechem Yehuda 376

[2] Kitzur SHU”A 26:22; Yosef Ometz p. 331, brought in Pnei Baruch 35 footnote 35; Chaim Bayad 115; Toras Menachem 1988 2:421, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:309; Sefer Sukkas Shalom, brought in Nitei Gavriel 64, see there in length; Introduction to Nitei Gavriel Volume 2 p. 17

[3] Mavor Yabok Sefas Emes 15 and Torah Leshma 520 to light 12 months in a Shul; Ruach Chaim 367 that today we light in house; Yifei Lalev 5:395; Igros Kodesh 18:510 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:310]; Nitei Gavriel 65:3-6 footnote 10

[4] Mavor Yabok ibid; Nitei Gavriel 65:3; Rabbi Groner in written correspondence that so directed the Rebbe

Other customs: Some are accustomed to light the candle up until the end of the 11 months of saying Kaddish. [Yosef Ometz p. 329]

[5] The reason: As having a candle lit in the home will remind the person of the Neshamah and to learn Torah in his memory. Alternatively, every Shabbos the soul of the Niftar comes to visit his family and having a candle lit helps sooth his soul. [Poskim in Nitei Gavriel ibid]

[6] Nitei Gavriel 65:5 footnote 9; Rabbi Groner in written correspondence that so directed the Rebbe

[7] Nitei Gavriel 65:6 footnote 9 and Rabbi Groner in a personal correspondence that so directed the Rebbe; However, see Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 7 in name of Poskim that implies every child is to light a candle in their home

[8] Torah Leshma 520

[9] Torah Leshma ibid

[10] Shvus Yaakov 1:102; Pischeiy Teshuvah 375:3 in name of Chinuch Beis Yehuda 91; Yosef Ometz p. 331; Sheilas Yaavetz 1:204; Kitzur SHU”A 204:4; M”B 201:1; Igros Kodesh 3:372 [published in Shulchan Menachem 5:306]; Pnei Baruch 35:18; Nitei Gavriel 65:15

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule there is no source or purpose in leading the Zimun past the Shiva, during the 12 months. [Sheilas Yaavetz ibid]

[11] See Igros Kodesh ibid that when the son is saying Kaddish he did not hear or receive a directive from the Rebbe Rayatz that one is to strive to lead the Zimun.

[12] Yosef Ometz p. 331, brought in Pnei Baruch 35 footnote 35; Chaim Bayad 115; Toras Menachem 1988 2:421, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:309; Kitzur SHU”A 26:22; Sefer Sukkas Shalom, brought in Nitei Gavriel 64, see there in length; See Chinuch Beis Yosef 91, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 375:3

[13] Igros Kodesh 317:271 [published in Shulchan Menachem 5:310]

[14] Igros Kodesh 4:173 [published in Shulchan Menachem 5:309]; Hayom Yom 9th Shevat in custom of Rebbe Rashab

[15] Igros Kodesh 16:117; 213; 19:272 and 291, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:297; 336

[16] Alef Hamagen end of Sefer; Igros Kodesh 3:7; 3:372 [published in Shulchan Menachem 5:306 and 309]; Igros Kodesh Rebbe Rayatz 2:379; See Pnei Baruch 35:16

[17] The reason: As Mishnayos is the same letters as Neshamah and hence helps elevate the soul. As well Chazal state that Asher Ben Yaakov sits in the entrance of Gehinnom and saves those who learn Mishnayos. [Alef Hamagen ibid]

[18] Igros Kodesh 3:7

[19] Levushei Mordechai Tinyana 164; Zekan Aaron 2:84; Nitei Gavriel 64:9

[20] Sefer Haminhagim p. 179 [English]; Igros Kodesh 4:173 [published in Shulchan Menachem 5:309]; Hayom Yom 9th Shevat in custom of Rebbe Rashab; Sichas 5th Menachem Av 1965

[21] Sichas 5th Menachem Av 1965

[22] See Igros Kodesh 17:271; Nitei Gavriel 64

[23] See Igros Kodesh ibid that the effects of learning Mishnayos according to the name is very different than the learning of Mishnayos in accordance to the Seder.

[24] Igros Kodesh 17:271, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:313

[25] Mishmeres Shalom Lamed 24; Igros Kodesh 17:271, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:313; Nitei Gavriel 64:4

Other customs: Some are accustomed to also recite the chapters that correspond to the parent’s name. [Nitei Gavriel ibid]

[26] Igros Kodesh 17:271, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:313

[27] Igros Kodesh 19:214, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:314

[28] Chayeh Adam 32:35; Igros Kodesh 3:372; 4:108; 17:272; 19:272 [published in Shulchan Menachem 5:306 and 311] based on directive of the Rebbe Rayatz to the Rebbe; Sefer Haminhagim p. 178 [English]

[29] Toras Menachem 1988 2:421, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:309

[30] Sefer Haminhagim p. 178 [English]

[31] Hisvadyus 5748 2:368, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:337

[32] See Hisvadyus 5752 2:132; Igros Kodesh 16:117, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:337

[33] Igros Kodesh 30:92, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:336

[34] Shulchan Menachem 5:338

[35] Ahavas Chesed 2:15; See Igros Kodesh 13:156, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:338

[36] Igros Kodesh 18:511, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:336

[37] Hisvadyus 5749 2:299, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:335; Nitei Gavriel Hachnasas Sefer Torah 1:16

[38] See Shabbos 105b; Moed Katan 25a

[39] Igros Kodesh 30:92, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:336

[40] Kitzur SHU”A 26:22; Chayeh Adam 32:34; See Yeish Nochalin Hakdama [Father of Shelah];

[41] Chayeh Adam 32:36

[42] Taz 344:5 in name of Ramban in Toras Adam

[43] Igros Kodesh 18:511, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:336

[44] Igros Kodesh 2:150, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:337

[45] See Igros Kodesh 23:26; 60, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:338

[46] Igros Moshe Y.D. 5:54; Nitei Gavriel Volume 66:3 in name of Rav Moshe Feinstein in Sefer Halacha Urefuah; See however Igros Kodesh 23:26; 60, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:338

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