Is there a source for lighting a candle in memory of a person or a Tzadik? And if there is, what would be the reason to do so?

  • 3
    Are you lighting them so said tzaddik can see his book? You should clarify the question.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 2:01
  • It seems I need to repeat the need to clarify the question, as the gemara referenced in the accepted answer is about a candle lit for people to see and benefit from its light. If that is what you intended then please clarify in the question because that is not how I understood it.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 7:01
  • 1
    @DoubleAA how about now? Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 13:31
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22220/11501
    – mbloch
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 7:29

2 Answers 2



The source for lighting a candle for a departed soul - is from Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi - who authored the Mishnayos - who commanded his family to leave a candle lit. Rabbenu Bachya explains that the soul has a sublime pleasure from candlelight.

  • מקורות: כתובות קג,א. רבנו בחיי שמות כה,לא. גשר החיים ר"פ כ. שערי הלכה ומנהג יו"ד עמ' שפג. טעמי המנהגים עמ' תמג. נטעי גבריאל אבלות ח"א פצ"ב, וש"נ. לקוטי שיחות ה,445 וש"נ. Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 4:36
  • He also commanded his family to leave a table set and his bed made. The gemara even explains why he asked all three of those things be done, and it has nothing to do with his neshama. That gemara clearly has nothing to do with candles in the sense of the question.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 4:44
  • -1 for presenting this as an exact quotation, when it's barely a rough translation, and a weak one at that.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 17:28

אליה רבה תרי:ד

מצאתי בספר אמרכל מצינו בתרגום מגילה במלשינות של המן, בליל צומא רבה מדליקין נרות סכום בניהם סכום אבהתהון ע"כ

The Elya Rabba quotes the Amarkal who quotes a targum on Esther (I can't seem to find it in our targum) that the Jews lit candles "according to the number of their ancestors".

I'm guessing the context is regarding Yom Kippur but it's hard to tell without the original source.

  • +1. I don't know where in the targum it might be, but note that the Targum Sheni (to 3:8) does call Yom Kipur "tzoma raba", so your guess that the targum you quote is referring to Yom Kipur is mine as well.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 4:30
  • @msh210 Yes I saw that here Do you have a searchable version though? Bar Ilan Responsa doesn't seem to have targumin on Nach. And btw it could definitely be that he had a different girsa than we do especially when it comes to targumin.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 6:30
  • I don't have a version searchable other than visually.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 22, 2012 at 7:12

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