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Yizkor

by Rabbi Yossi Jacobson

  

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On Yom Kippur, as on Sukkot, Passover and Shavouth, Jews assemble for Yizkor services to shed a tear and say a prayer for departed family and friends. Those still blessed with living parents leave the synagogue during these intense intimate moments designated for those who are missing parents.

Yizkor is a loving expression of how much we miss our beloved, and cherish their memory. We pay tribute to a soul eternally lodged in heaven, linking ourselves to the divine aspect of the person that never dies. In a sense, we bring our loved ones back to life by sustaining their legacies and hopes in our own lives.

We bring our loved ones back to life by sustaining their legacies and hopes in our own lives
Remembering the Six Million

In addition to our immediate relatives, we also recite a collective Yizkor for the six million, including one and a half million children who perished in the Holocaust. In addition to our prayer for G-d to remember, Yizkor is also a message for us to remember. We mark not only the deaths but also the lives, dreams and wills of the Six Million.

More than just constructing memorials and museums for the dead, we bring them back to life through Jewish continuity. By perpetuating their memory we put a smile on the faces of our ancestors on high, by continuing their hope that Jews and Judaism would survive and thrive.

As we close our eyes, we may hear their whispering voices:

“Please give your children and yourself the gift of doing a Mitzvah and loving kindness, the treasures of Shabbos, Mezuzah, and Charity. Illuminate your sweet daughters with Shabbos Lights and adorn your precious sons with Tefilin. Fill your homes with Jewish values and inspiration.

“Bestow on your children the immortal richness of Jewish life, so in their lives, we, too, will continue to live."

Republished with permission from Jewish-Holiday.com.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Death » Afterlife
Holidays » General Information » Holiday Information
Holidays » Yom Kippur » The Prayers

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Mezuzah
A rolled up scroll containing certain verses from the Torah which is affixed to the right-hand doorpost of doorways in a Jewish home.
Yizkor
Prayers for the souls of departed relatives, recited during the holiday prayer services.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.