Prayer for lighting a yahrzeit candle

Lighting a memorial candle for a beloved parent or other loved one is an emotional moment, but has no well known accompanying prayer. One from the 18th century may fill that need.

Rabbi Yair Hoffman, | updated: 17:06

Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Rabbi Yair Hoffman

This article was written l’ilui nishmas (for the elevation of the soul ofl) the author’s father, Nosson Yoseph Ben Moshe, whose tenth yartzeit is today, 5 Iyar. 

It is the custom within the community, Klal Yisroel, to light a Yahrzeit candle on the day that a relative had passed away.  The lighting has no accompanying blessing, and I am sure that many people find themselves looking for something appropriate, some way to express themselves in a prayer when lighting the candle.  This is not only true on a Yahrzeit but whenever Yom Tov comes as well and Yizkor is said.

The author of the Peleh Yoetz, Rabbi Eliezer Papo (1785–1828), did in fact compose such a prayer.  Rav Papo was the Rabbi of the city of Selestria in Bulgaria.  Bulgaria was a part of the Ottoman Empire at the time.  The Tefillah of the Pelehe Yoetz is reproduced in Hebrew and translated below, as a public service.

הריני מדליק נר זה למנוחת ולעילוי נשמת אבי מורי ____ בן ____

תפילה הנמצאת בספר אלף המגן  מבעל הפלא יועץ על פרשת ויצא עמוד כ"ד

יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלקינו ואלקי אבותינו, שתקבל ברחמים וברצון כל מעשה הטוב שאני עושה, בין במחשבה, בין בדיבור, בין במעשה ויהיה הכל לזכות ולמנוחת ולעילוי לנשמות עמך ישראל, ובפרט לנפש רוח של (אמי/אבי/נפטר) _____.  יהי רצון שתהיינה נפשותיהם צרורות בצרור החיים.

Behold I am lighting this lamp for the rest and uplifting of the soul of my father (or deceased), my teacher _______ the son of _______.

May it be Your will before you, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that all my good deeds whether in thought, speech or action be done for a merit and a resting and an elevation of the souls of your nation Israel.  It should be especially for the soul of my mother/father/ deceased _____.  May it be Your will that their souls be bound in the bond of life.

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