Sunday, April 4 is the last day of Pesach and is also the day we observe Yizkor. Below is a meditation that may be said prior to lighting the Yahrzeit candle, it is also a text that may be said during Yizkor itself. I hope that it will be a source of comfort.
PLEASE NOTE: THE YAHRZEIT CANDLE SOULD BE LIT ON SATURDAY NIGHT. SINCE THE END OF SHABBAT CORRESPONDS TO YOM TOV, THE CANDLE SHOULD BE LIT FROM A PRE-EXISTING FLAME. THIS FLAME CONSISTS OF A 24-HOUR CANDLE (A YAHRZEIT CANDLE FOR EXAMPLE) LIT PRIOR TO SHABBAT ON FRIDAY NIGHT.
I haven’t forgotten you, even though it’s been some time now since I’ve seen your face, touched your hand, heard your voice. Yet you are with me all the time. I sometimes thought you left me. I know better now. You come to me. Sometimes in fleeting moments I feel your presence close by. But I still miss you. And nothing, no person, no joy, no accomplishment, no distraction, not even G-d, can fill the gaping hole your absence has left in my life. But mixed together with my sadness, there is a great joy for having known you. I want to thank you for the time we shared, for the love you gave, for the wisdom your spread. Thank you for the magnificent moments and for the ordinary ones, too. There was beauty in our simplicity. Holiness in our unspectacular days. And I will carry the lessons you taught me always. Your life has ended, but your light can never be extinguished. It continues to shine upon me even on the darkest nights and illuminates my way. I light this candle in your honor and in your memory. May G-d bless you as you have blessed me with love, with grace and with peace. Amen. The following may be read after lighting the candle. You are remembered in love. You are part of the now in me. All the good, all the love, all the comfort a person can give is remembered, and repeated, for your sake. Time changes, everything passes, but love. Peace abide you. Source of Strength, You are my Shepherd - I shall not want. You guide me to green pastures; You lead me beside still waters. You restore my soul and renew my life. You calmly conduct me to paths of righteousness, for that is Your nature. And even though I have continued to walk through the valley of the shadow of this death, I need no longer fear - for You remain with me. Your rod and Your staff - they do comfort me. You have prepared table after table before me even while I was in the presence of deep sadness; You yet anointed my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness, love and compassion will follow me all the days of my life - for I shall strive to dwell in Your house, dear G-d, forever. Zich-ronecha/Zich-ro-nech liv-ra-cha. Your memory continues to be a blessing.
As we conclude this Passover holiday, Temple Emanu-El wishes you blessings of happiness, health, as well as spiritual growth. Chag Sameach! Rabbi Marc Philippe
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