Feb 4, 2014

Fwd: Remembering Well: the Adar CNS Yahrtzeit Letters

A Note from Rabbi Creditor
Remembering Well: 
The CNS Adar Yahrtzeit Letters 

4 Adar I,  5774 // February 4, 2014 


Dear Chevreh,


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.


rabbi creditor

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom 
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