In all the Shuls (Synagogues) I've Davened in over the years, I noticed that all those whose parents are alive leave the shul during Yizkor. Why is this so?

  • 5
    In recent years, in synagogues I've davened in both in the US and in Israel, the rabbi has pleaded with his congregants for everyone to remain in the shul for Yizkor, arguing that the minhag to leave is shtus, everyone can say yizkor for martyrs and Israeli soldiers and grandparents or great-grandparents, and it is divisive to abandon fellow community members when they are reciting yizkor. I'm not sure if this trend is catching on, but I have noticed it in a number of places.
    – Curiouser
    Oct 30, 2011 at 19:04
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    The situation described in the question used to be our custom, however in recent years, our Rabbi has asked everyone to remain for the yizkor for martyrs and Israeli soldiers, and then they can leave when we do the personal yizkor.
    – Dennis
    Feb 28, 2014 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Taame Haminhagim (589–590) explains (in free translation):

If he remains there, he might say it with them, and there's a covenant made with the lips [that what they say is true comes true]. Another reason is that everyone's busy saying Yizkor and he's silent, and it says in B'rachos that it should not be the case that all are busy etc. There's a slight concern of ayin hara in such a case (as in Y'vamos 106, "Do you have parents in town?" ―"Yes", and he set his eye upon them and they died).

As Alex (thank you!) points out in a comment, the B'rachos quotation, from 20:2, is "so it should not be the case that everyone is busy [praying] and he's sitting idle" (in another context of someone who would not be praying with the community [but would, I assume, be in the synagogue]).

  • I guess we assume no one gives Ayin Haras while watching 80% of the shul leave to go have a break and schmooze for 10 minutes.
    – Double AA
    Mar 9, 2015 at 17:56

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