From the Rav’s Desk: Lighting Yizkor candle for Yom Kippur

Q&A relating to Yom Kippur

  1. Question: [Sunday 6th Tishreiy 5781]

I am not normally accustomed to light a Yizkor candle before holidays, and I believe that this was also the custom of the Rebbe. What about Yom Kippur, should Yizkor candle be lit or not according to our custom?



Absolutely. Anyone who has a parent who passed away r”l should light a 24-hour Yizkor candle before Yom Kippur.

Explanation: Although in general the custom of the Rabbeim and subsequent Chabad custom was not to be particular to light a Yizkor candle prior to the holidays, nonetheless, for Yom Kippur a Yizkor candle is to be lit as recorded in the Rishonim, and Rama and Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch. This is known as a Ner Neshama. This is different than the custom of lighting a Yizkor candle before other holidays in which Yizkor is recited, in which neither the recital of Yizkor, nor the lighting of the candle beforehand, has any source in the Poskim, and is seemingly a later generation adapted custom, which did not spread to all communities. This is likewise the Chabad custom and custom of the Rabbeim to light a Ner Neshama prior to the start of Yom Kippur, as brought in Sefer Haminhagim and Sichos.

Sources: See Admur 610:5; Rama 610:4; Kol Bo 68; Sefer Haminhagim p. 58; Sefer Hasichos 5704 p. 7-8; 5705 p. 14; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad Tishreiy pp. 166-170; Maaseh Melech Tishreiy 23

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