Yahrzeit that falls on Shabbos and Yom Tov?
When to perform the Yahrzeit customs:
When the Yahrzeit falls on Shabbos [or Yom Tov], the question is raised as to when the Yahrzeit customs are to be kept. Some customs are not feasible, or not permitted, to be performed on Shabbos [and Yom Tov], and it is questionable as to when it is to be performed; on Friday before Shabbos or on Sunday after Shabbos, or perhaps they are not to be performed at all. [The same question applies regarding Yom Tov, and as to whether the Yahrzeit customs are to be performed after Yom Tov, or on Erev Yom Tov.] Practically, a dispute is recorded in Poskim in this regard. The Rebbe’s final arbitration in this matter is that all the customs that are permitted and feasible to be fulfilled on Shabbos are to be fulfilled on Shabbos, while the customs that cannot be fulfilled on Shabbos are to be fulfilled on Erev Shabbos. They may be fulfilled any time on Erev Shabbos, whether before or after midday. [The same would apply to Erev Yom Tov. This, however, is only initially, however if for whatever reason the customs were not done on Erev Shabbos, then they are to be fulfilled on Sunday.]
The customs that are initially to be fulfilled on Friday [or Erev Yom Tov] include:
- One lights the candle before sunset on Friday, or on Erev Yom Tov. [See Halacha E and F!]
- One gives Tzedaka on Friday.
- One is to visit the cemetery on Friday. [See Halacha B]
The customs that may be fulfilled on Shabbos are:
- Davening as Chazan.
- Learning Mishnayos.
Customs that are not fulfilled at all:
- The fast. [See footnote above for a dispute regarding if and when the fast should take place, however, see Halacha 6A that in any event today we no longer fast on a Yahrzeit.]
The following are further details regarding some of the above matters:
Yahrzeit falls on Shabbos: If the Yahrzeit falls on Shabbos, then on Friday one visits the cemetery and recites the prayers relevant to the Yahrzeit which cannot be recited on Shabbos. [If one could not visit the cemetery on Erev Shabbos, then he is to visit on Sunday. If Erev Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh, then one initially visits on Sunday.]
Yahrzeit is on Yom Tov or Chol Hamoed: If the Yahrzeit is on Yom Tov, one is to visit the cemetery on Erev Yom Tov. The same applies if the Yahrzeit falls on Chol Hamoed. [Nonetheless, some are accustomed to visit the cemetery on Chol Hamoed, or after Yom Tov.]
Fasting and Siyum Misechta:
Fasting: If the Yahrzeit occurs on Shabbos, one does not fast on Shabbos. It is debated as to if the fast is to be made up another day, and if so, as to when it is to take place. [Practically, it is no longer customary today to fast on the day of the Yahrzeit of a parent, as stated in Halacha 6A.]
One wears his regular Shabbos clothing and Tallis on the Shabbos of the Yahrzeit.
Lighting the candle:
If the Yahrzeit falls on Shabbos, then the 24-hour Yahrzeit candle is to be lit before sunset.
If one forgot to light it: If one forgot to light the Yahrzeit candle before sunset, then he may ask a gentile to light it for him so long as it is before nightfall. Once nightfall has arrived, a gentile may no longer light a candle on one’s behalf, and it is thus forbidden to ask him to do so. [The gentile may only be asked to light a single candle. Likewise, a candle may only be lit on behalf of the Yahrzeit of a deceased parent, and not for other relatives.]
Lighting the candle if the Yahrzeit is on Yom Tov:
When to light it: It is forbidden to light a candle on Yom Tov unless its light is needed for the room. Therefore, those who have a Yahrzeit on Yom Tov are to light the Yahrzeit candle before Yom Tov.
Lighting in Shul if one did not light the candle before Yom Tov: One who did not light the Yahrzeit/Yizkor candle before Yom Tov may light it on Yom Tov inside an active Shul, [in the room where the prayer takes place]. In a case that one is able to light the candle in Shul, one is not to light the candle in one’s home on Yom Tov, unless it is lit in an area that is dark and one intends to also use the light in order to see in the room. See next!
Lighting at home if one cannot light in Shul: In a case that one did not light the candle before Yom Tov and one is unable to light the candle in Shul, some Poskim rule it is permitted to light the Yahrzeit candle at home, even if there is enough light in the room without the candle. Nonetheless, initially in such a case, one is to light it near one’s dining room table prior to the night meal, thus giving it a use for one’s meal. However, if this too is not possible, then one may light it in any area that he desires. Other Poskim however argue and rule one may never light a candle at home if one does not need its light. [Practically, one may be lenient in a time of need regarding a Yahrzeit candle, for one who has a Yahrzeit of a parent on Yom Tov. However, a Yizkor candle should not be lit on Yom Tov.]
Asking a gentile to light the candle: In all cases that one did not light a Yahrzeit candle before Yom Tov, it is permitted to ask a gentile to light it for him.
Lighting a candle for other relatives: The above leniency of lighting a Yahrzeit candle on Yom Tov in one’s home only applies towards the Yahrzeit of one’s parents, and not other relatives. It is forbidden to light candles on behalf of other relatives inside one’s home, if one does not need the light. Even in Shul, one is not to light too many candles.
Each year, on the day of the Yahrzeit of a father or mother, the son is to endeavor to lead the entire prayer as Chazan [of Maariv, Shacharis, and Mincha], if he knows how to do so. This applies even when the Yahrzeit falls on Shabbos.
Kabalas Shabbos and Kaddish: When the Yahrzeit falls on Erev Shabbos, or Shabbos, one says the Kaddish Yasom that follows the psalm of Mizmor Shir Leyom Hashabbos which concludes Kabalas Shabbos. [Accordingly, many are accustomed to also Daven for the Amud for Kabalas Shabbos.]
Within year of Aveilus: If one has a Yahrzeit of one parent on Shabbos or Yom Tov during the 12 months of Aveilus for another parent [or during Shloshim of other relative] he is nevertheless to Daven for the Amud as usual.
In the event that the Yahrzeit falls on Shabbos, he is to receive Maftir on that Shabbos and not on the Shabbos before. [If, however, it falls on a Yom Tov, he is to receive the Aliyah on the previous Shabbos, as stated above.] See Halacha 3C for further details!
It is proper to hold a Kiddush in Shul on the Shabbos of the Yahrzeit.
All the customs that are permitted and feasible to be fulfilled on Shabbos are to be fulfilled on Shabbos while the customs that cannot be fulfilled on Shabbos are to be fulfilled on Erev Shabbos. They may be fulfilled any time on Erev Shabbos, whether before or after midday. The customs that are to be fulfilled on Friday include: 1) Lighting the candle before sunset. 2) Giving Tzedaka 3) Visiting the grave and reciting the prayers relevant to the Yahrzeit that cannot be recited on Shabbos. The customs that may be fulfilled on Shabbos are: Kaddish, Davening as Chazan, learning Mishnayos.
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 568:14; Nitei Gavriel chapter 73
 Regarding the fast, some Poskim rule the fast is to take place on Sunday. [Michaber 568:9; Devar Moshe 68; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 568:94 and so he concludes] Other Poskim rule the fast is to take place on Friday. [Kavod Chachamim, brought in Lechem Hapanim 376; Pnei Aaron 27, brought in Kaf Hachaim 568:94] Other Poskim rule that one does not fast at all in such a situation. [Rama 568:9] Other Poskim rule that although the fast is to take place on Sunday, the visitation to the Kever is to take place on Friday. [Dvar Moshe ibid, brought in Ikarei Hadaat 36:35 and Kaf Hachaim ibid] The custom of Jerusalem is to recite the prayers and Torah relevant to the Yahrzeit on Erev Shabbos. [brought in Sdei Chemed Aveilus 96, Toras Menachem 19:31]; See Nitei Gavriel 76:12
 Conclusion of Rebbe in Igros Kodesh 8:125; 14:324; Likkutei Sichos 19:132 regarding Tzedaka; Toras Menachem 19:31 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:323-324]
 Toras Menachem 19:31 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:322]
 Implication of ruling of Rebbe ibid; See Nitei Gavriel 76:14 for different customs
 Toras Menachem 19:31 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:322]
 Toras Menachem ibid; see also Likkutei Sichos 19:132 who discusses this matter from the aspect of a Neder and that perhaps one must wait until after Shabbos to give the charity, although concludes to give it before Shabbos in order to perform the Mitzvah as soon as possible.
 Devar Moshe 68; Ikarei Hadaat 36:35; Kaf Hachaim 568:94; Minhag Yerushalayim, brought in Sdei Chemed Aveilus 96, Toras Menachem 19:31; Conclusion of Rebbe in Igros Kodesh 8:125; 14:324; Toras Menachem 19:31 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:323-324]; See Nitei Gavriel 76:12
Other customs: Some are accustomed to visit the Kever on Sunday. [Gesher Hachaim 32:5; See Nitei Gavriel ibid]
 Nitei Gavriel 76:13
 Implication of ruling of Rebbe ibid; See Nitei Gavriel 76:14-15 for different customs, he concludes in footnote 22 that the widespread custom is to visit on Erev Yom Tov.
 Michaber 568:9; Igros Kodesh 8:125, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:324
 Some Poskim rule the fast is to take place on Sunday. [Michaber 568:9; Devar Moshe 68; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 568:94 and so he concludes] Other Poskim rule the fast is to take place on Friday. [Kavod Chachamim; Pnei Aaron 27, brought in Kaf Hachaim 568:94] Other Poskim rule that one does not fast at all in such a situation. [Rama 568:9] This is because Shabbos itself serves as the Kaparah, and is greater than 1000 fasts. [Rebbe in Toras Menachem 19:31, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:323] See Igros Kodesh ibid that one who desires to fast should follow the second opinion and fast on Erev Shabbos. If he can’t, then he should fast on Sunday or not fast at all.
 Toras Menachem 1984 2:873 and 5749 2:302 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:325]; See Koveitz Or Yisrael 47:183; The Rebbe himself would not make a Siyum when the Yahrzeit of his father or mother fell on Shabbos.
Other customs: Some are accustomed to make a Siyum on Shabbos, in such a case. [Gesher Hachaim 32:3; Nitei Gavriel 73:2] Others do it on Erev Shabbos. [Ikarei Hadaat 36:35]
 The reason: As the entire reason behind the Siyum is to nullify the fast, and since when a Yahrzeit falls on Shabbos we anyways do not fast, there is therefore no reason for the Siyum. Furthermore, to make a Siyum on the Shabbos Yahrzeit as is normally done on a Yahrzeit can be viewed as belittling to the respect of Shabbos, as it could be interpreted as if also on Shabbos one ideally needs to fast. Therefore, it is better not to make a Siyum at all on the Shabbos of the Yahrzeit.[Rebbe ibid]
 Nitei Gavriel 73:3 that so is the custom
Other opinions: Some Poskim write that the custom is to wear the weekday Tallis on the Shabbos of the Yahrzeit. [Beir Heiytiv 395:3]
 Admur 261:2 “It is permitted to tell a gentile to light the candle of the day of death of one’s father or mother as the world is very careful in this”; M”A 261:6; Shut Rashal 46; Kitzur SHU”A 90:23
 The reason it is permitted to ask a gentile: As the world is very careful in this lighting and it is thus considered like a great need for which the Sages permitted Rabbinical Melacha to be done during Bein Hashmashos. [Admur ibid]
 Admur ibid limits allowance to Bein Hashmashos; Kuntrus Acharon 263:4 in interpretation of M”A 263:11; See Admur 276:8; Shoel Umeishiv Shishi 33; Nitei Gavriel 75:15
 Pashut, as by other relatives it is not the worldly custom and is not judged as a great need.
 M”B 298:30; See Admur 298:15-17
 The reason: As it has been lit for the soul of the departed and not for light. [M”B ibid]
 See Admur 514:13-14; Biur Halacha 514:5 “Ner”; Kaf Hachaim 514:79; Piskeiy Teshuvos 514:14; Nitei Gavriel 55:2
 Admur 514:13; Michaber 514:5
 Biur Halacha ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 70; Nitei Gavriel ibid; See SSH”K 13 footnote 27
The reason: As it is forbidden to light a Ner Shel Batala on Yom Tov. [Admur 514:13; Michaber 514:5]
 Nitei Gavriel ibid
 Admur 514:14; Michaber 514:4; P”M 132 M”Z 2; Kesav Sofer 75; Biur Halacha ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Nitei Gavriel ibid
The reason: One may light any candle in Shul, as it is considered a Neir Shel Mitzvah, as it gives honor to the Shul. [Admur 514:14; Michaber 514:4]
Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule one may never light a Yahrzeit candle on Yom Tov, even in Shul. [Daas Torah 514 in name of Imrei Eish] Some rule one may only do so through a gentile. [Kitzur SHU”A 98:1]
 P”M 132 M”Z 2; Daas Torah 514 in name of Imrei Eish 40; Kitzur SHU”A 98:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid
The reason: As it does not add any light to the house even at night being that we have electricity. Thus, it may not be lit as it is considered a light that serves no purpose which is forbidden to be lit on Yom Tov. [Admur 514:13; Michaber 514:5; P”M ibid]
 Kesav Sofer 75; Biur Halacha 514:5 “Neir”; Kaf Hachaim 514:79
 Kesav Sofer ibid; Biur Halacha ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid; Nitei Gavriel ibid
The reason: As it is permitted to light a Ner Shel Mitzvah [Admur 514:14; Michaber 514:5] and a Yahrzeit candle can be considered a Ner Shel Mitzvah, being that it is lit for the honor of one’s parents. [Kesav Sofer ibid; Biur Halacha ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid]
 P”M 132 M”Z 2; Daas Torah ibid; Kitzur SHU”A ibid
 Nitei Gavriel 75:16
 The reason: As the custom of lighting a Yizkor candle is not very clear, and many even initially are not accustomed to do so. Nevertheless, one who is in great anguish that a candle is not lit and is doing so in honor of a parent, seemingly may be lenient if there is no other alternative of lighting it.
 Kitzur SHU”A ibid
 See Nitei Gavriel 56:5
The reason: As there is no Mitzvah of honoring these other relatives, and hence the candle is not considered a Ner Shel Mitzvah, but rather a Ner Shel Batala.
 Aruch Hashulchan 514:19; Nitei Gavriel 56:6
 Sefer Hamamarim 5708 p. 147; Sefer Haminhagim [English] p. 52 and 180 regarding Yahrzeit falling on Friday and footnote 213 regarding Shabbos; Igros Kodesh 3:20 regarding both Shabbos and Friday [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:327]; See however Beir Heiytiv 132:5 in name of Kneses Yechezkal 14 that these Kaddeishim belong to Shabbos; See Nitei Gavriel 44:23
Davening before nightfall: See Chelkas Yaakov 3:149 and Nitei Gavriel 73:1 that one may Daven Kabalas Shabbos and Maariv before dark, if that is his weekly custom, even though the Yahrzeit is on Shabbos.
 The reason: If the Yahrzeit falls on Friday he is to say the Kaddish as ideally Melacha is permitted until Barchu is recited, and it is hence part of the Friday prayers. [footnote of Rebbe in Sefer Haminhagim ibid based on Admur 261:7] It goes without saying that this Kaddish is recited by one whose Yahrzeit is on Shabbos as it is said as part of the Shabbos prayers, as well as that it is today always said after sunset when the Yahrzeit has already begun. [Beir Heiytiv ibid; See Shulchan Menachem ibid footnote 10]
 Igros Kodesh 14:430 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:304]; Minchas Yitzchak 9:134; Betzeil Hachochmah 4:199; See Hiskashrus 569:18; Dudaei Hasadeh 44; Vayilaket Yosef 14:41; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 56:2; However, see Divrei Malkiel 6:23
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 181; Shaareiy Ephraim 9:42; Darkei Chaim 34:12; Nimukei Orach Chaim 282; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 210; Gesher Hachaim 32:2; Orchos Rabbeinu in name of Chazon Ish; Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 136:9 footnotes 81-82 and 284 footnote 13; Nitei Gavriel 69:8
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is to receive an Aliyah for Maftir on the preceding Shabbos even in such a case, and on the Shabbos of the Yahrzeit he is to get one of the seven Aliyos. [Nishmas Kol Chaiy Y.D. 72; Maaseh Avraham 56; Chasam Sofer 6:103; Orchos Chaim 282:15 in name of Rav Chaim Falagi; Koveitz Mibeis Levi 12; See Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 136:9 footnotes 81-82 and 284 footnote 13; Nitei Gavriel 69:8]
 See Toras Menachem 4:266 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:317]