The Meaning of the Yahrzeit Candle and Flame
In Jewish tradition the candle flame is often thought to symbolically represent the human soul, and lighting candles is an important part of many Jewish religious occasions, from Shabbat to Passover Seders. The connection between candle flames and souls derives originally from the Book of Proverbs (chapter 20 verse 27): "The soul of man is the candle of God." Like a human soul, flames must breath, change, grow, strive against the darkness and, ultimately, fade away. Thus, the flickering flame of the Yahrzeit candle helps to remind us of the departed soul of our loved one and of the precious fragility of our life and the lives of our loved ones, life that must be embraced and cherished at all times.
Electronic Yahrzeit Candle
Yahrzeit candles preserve the Yahrzeit tradition and ensure family members know the appropriate memorial dates. When you register, Sprung's electronic service will email the persons you provide an "Electronic Yahrzeit" on the Hebrew memorial date. Sprung will also furnish you with an email reminder and email candles directly to you each and every year. See Sample Electronic Yahrzeit.
A Yahrzeit (Yiddish for "a year's time") is the anniversary of the death of a loved one. Every year it is Jewish custom (minhag) to light a special candle that burns for 24 hours, called a Yahrzeit candle. The candle is lit on the Yahrzeit date of that person's death, as well as on certain holidays and during the initial mourning period immediately following a death.
Traditionally, Yahrzeit candles are lit for the same deceased relatives for whom one would recite the Mourner's Kaddish (parents, spouses, siblings, and children), but there is no reason one could not light a Yahrzeit candle to honor the anniversary of the death of someone who doesn't fall into one of these calegories (i.e. a friend, grandparent, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.). Jewish religious law (halachah) does not require lighting Yahrzeit candles, but the tradition has become an important part of Jewish life and mourning.