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Yarzheit

June 3, 2010

I like yarzheit candles. They’re little candles that Jewish people light in memorial of the dead– usually on the day somebody died, though I light them on birthdays too. They burn for 24 hours. A 24 hour memorial.

There are plenty of things that I dislike about the Jewish religion, and plenty of things that I’ve had to reconcile myself with, or find my own personal meanings for in order to be able to sit around the dinner table and not cringe. But yarzheit, I appreciate.

I like the continuity of it– that a person is now missing from the planet, but is kept alive in memory, year after year, until you die. And when you die, somebody else will [hopefully] light a candle for you. In that way, I am lighting candles for generations upon generations of people, dating back in time to when oil lamps were used for this kind of thing. And I like that mourning is still acceptable every year because, let’s face it, we don’t ever ‘get over it’, we get used to it.

And I like the symbolism. I like that I get to talk to these ghosts a couple of times a year. Sometimes I wish that they’d come around more often, but then, I don’t want to be one of those people who spends her life with her head turned around, watching what came before her. No, I want to face the world as it is. But a couple of times a year, to pay my respect to everything that came before, I don’t think this is such a bad thing.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 12, 2010 00:11

    I love your posts : ) Thanks for doing them.

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