Fwd: Remembering Well: the Adar CNS Yahrtzeit Letters
A Note from Rabbi Creditor
The CNS Adar Yahrtzeit Letters
4 Adar I, 5774 // February 4, 2014
We generate monthly letters to all members whose losses are recorded in our Yizkor booklets. This year is a Jewish leap year (you learn more about that by clicking here), which means that there is one additional month of Adar on the calendar. So, the question arises: when our loved ones have died during (a non-leap year) Adar, in which month of a leap year (in which there is Adar I and Adar II) do we mark their Yahrtzeits?
This is incredibly important, as the way we measure time speaks to our groundedness in an ever-shifting universe. It is also fascinating to see how the halachic tradition has responded to the complexity of time. It is also timely, as our Adar II letters went out "by mistake" in our Adar I yahrtzeit mailing.
Rabbi David Golinkin, marking his own father's passing during Adar I some years ago, wrote a Teshuvah (a halachic response) to this question, saying that:
"...since the custom of yahrzeit and mourner's kaddish arose hundreds of year after the Talmud, there is no clear consensus as to whether an Adar yahrzeit should be observed in Adar I or Adar II. Furthermore, there is not even a clear consensus among Ashkenazim or Sefaradim. Personally, I prefer the custom of Adar II. Since Purim is observed in Adar II, this is the month which most Jews today consider the "real" Adar. However, it is perfectly legitimate to observe a yahrzeit in Adar I following the many opinions and precedents found above. Finally, while I do not recommend observing a yahrzeit in both Adars, it is certainly understandable how this custom arose, given the lack of conclusive proof for the other two opinions."
Therefore, even though the letters we sent out for this year's Adar I yahrtzeits included those that might also have been appropriate for Adar II, we can feel comfortable remembering our loved ones well this month. The halacha contains enough flexibility to render these acts of memory sacred moments that could not be wrong.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…