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On a yartzeit (anniversary of death on Hebrew calendar) for a deceased family member, if one plans to both light a yartzeit candle in one's home and attend shul to say kaddish, is there a preference to light the candle before leaving for shul before mincha (i.e. some time before the actual yartzeit has started) or after returning home from shul after maariv (i.e. some time after the actual yartzeit has started)?

My understanding is there is no halachic obligation to light a candle, per se, but it is a common and meaningful custom.

(Of course, this question only applies when the yartzeit is not on shabbat, since in that case the candle would need to be lit before accepting shabbat regardless.)

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  • Probably better to bring it to Shul and light it there. – Double AA Jan 10 '17 at 15:51
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Nitei Gavriel - Aveilus 2 - 75:1 says that there are those that light the Yarzheit candle before sunset. He says in the notes on bottom see next page - note 2 that is the Minhag Chabad.

Based on this I would say one can do as they please and light the candle whenever is best for them.

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