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Where does the custom not to say Tachanun on a Yahrtzeit come from?

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  • See Rivevos Ephraim 7:395 which brings an interesting thought on this
    – sam
    Dec 30, 2014 at 1:55
  • Given that there were at least 1.2 million prophets during the First Temple period (Megilla 15a), the chance that any date does not have a Yahrtzeit of a Tzaddik on it is about 10^(-10^6.5). That's 0.0000...{3 million more zeros}...0001. Thus Tachanun should have been obsolete well before the times of the Gemara.
    – Double AA
    Feb 25, 2015 at 14:13

4 Answers 4

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Taamei Haminhagim (citing Maaseh Yechiel) comments that "when it comes to saying Tachanun, we omit it based on any possible reason, since 'it is better to recite fewer prayers with more concentration [than the reverse].'"

So presumably a yahrtzeit, whether of one's own parents or of a prominent tzaddik, is such a reason.

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    I do not understand how the concept of "Tov Mi'at tahanunim im kavanah meiharbei bli kavanah" can be used to completely eradicate any tahanun for a day. Maybe their reading of the dictum is "Tov Lima'et Tahanunim" ;-)
    – Yahu
    Aug 26, 2010 at 5:10
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    You haven't answered why this is included in 'any possible reason.' Does the local sports team winning consist of a reason not to say tahanun? One would assume not. Why not? May 9, 2017 at 17:27
  • Taamei haminhagim is talking about sofek dyoma of Purim. It’s a stretch to bring that for a yatzeit or World Series win. Also, who doesn’t say tachanun on a Parent Yartzeit?
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 14, 2022 at 21:25
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I used to Daven in a Shul where they almost never said Tachanun as they always found some Yarzeit. One day they had no Yarzeit and they said Tachanun. One of the Alte Yiden in the back Klapped on his table and said "Vus Far Ah Yom Tov Iz Heint?"

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    Tachanun was never recited at a certain chassidish shteibl; each day was the yahrtzeit of some rebbe. One day, no one could think of a rebbe who had a yahrtzeit. "Whose yahrtzeit is today," the gabbai asked. No one responded. "I demand that someone tell me which rebbe has a yahrtzeit," the gabbai shouted. No response. "Do you mean to tell me that not one rebbe ever died on this day?!" the gabbai thundered. "No tachanun!"
    – Fred
    Apr 28, 2013 at 5:00
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The persian jews have such a minhag when there is an avel (c'v's' had a close reltive die within the seven days). We don's say Tachnun when he is in the minyan.

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  • The general custom is to omit Tachanun in an avel's house; if the avel goes to shul instead, it wouldn't surprise me to apply the same concept. But that's very different (I think?) from a yahrtzeit of a tzadik several hundred years ago.
    – Shalom
    Aug 25, 2010 at 1:26
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The Mishmeres Shalom Siman 12:4 explains that it is only for those who learned from that Tzaddik and had a connection to him. He derives it from the Rash"i In Yevamos 122B who uses the word "Regel" to describe a yartzeit;

תלתא ריגלי - שהיו תלמידי חכמים נקבצים לשמוע דרשה הלכות פסח בפסח והיתה שואלת מהם. ובתשובת הגאונים מצאתי כל הנך ריגלי דאמוראי היינו יום שמת בו אדם גדול קובעים אותו לכבודו ומדי שנה בשנה כשמגיע אותו יום מתקבצים תלמידי חכמים מכל סביביו ובאים על קברו עם שאר העם להושיב ישיבה שם

The Ketzos Hashulchan 1:24:5 says that not saying Tachanun is all based on Minhag. In the Badei Hashulchan 24:19 he mentions a minhag in Egypt to not say tachanun if there is a Bar Mitzvah, and in Poland if there is Yartzeit of a Tzadik.

For a full treatment of the issue see Halachically Speaking Vol 9 Issue 12

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