How old is the idea of commemorating a yahrzeit of a loved one?

Although the custom of remembering our loved ones on the anniversary of a death dates back to Talmudic times, its observance did not become widespread until the eleventh and twelfth centuries when the Crusaders rampaged through Germany and other countries to fulfil their missi rescuing the burial vault of Jesus from the hands of the Arabs and Muslims. En route to the Promised Land, the Crusaders vented their anger on countless innocent Jews. At first these Jewish martyrs were memorialized as a group by their respective communities, but later it was customary for family members to memorialize their loved ones individually on the anniversary of the date on which they were killed.

Today, yahrzeit is the time set aside on the anniversary of the death of a loved one for remembering the deceased individual, parents as well as other close relatives.

Rabbi Ron

Back to Question Index

Problems? Contact the webmaster.