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I have heard of a custom in Chabad to light yahrzeit and yizkor candles for the rebbeim. But I literally don't know anything about it except that some in Chabad do it. Can anyone tell me:

  1. How common is this practice inside/outside Chabad?
  2. Who inside/outside Chabad practices it?
  3. How do they practice it? Are additional yizkor candles lit beyond that/those for loved ones? Are yahrzeit candles lit for all 7 (9?) rebbeim of Chabad?
  4. Generally, how common is the practice of lighting yahrzeit/yizkor candles for non-family, i.e. tzaddikim?
  • generally in chabad a yizkor candle is not lit unless that family already had a family custom to do so... shulchanaruchharav.com/halacha/… – Laser123 Jun 16 '17 at 2:59
  • @Laser123 This is in keeping with an answer I got from the principal of a Chabad seminary, who said that lighting yizkor candles for the Rebbeim is by family custom. I have seen yizkor candles lit in a few Chabad families, and, if I am not mistaken, saw some comment about lighting yizkor candles for Rebbeim in a pre-Yom Tov publication by the Beis Din of Crown Heights – SAH Jun 26 '17 at 18:39
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The source of this custom is a letter (From Rosh Chodesh Shvat 5711) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, where he writes what one should do for the first Yahrtzeit (10 Shevat 5711) of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe:

להדליק נר שידלק כל המעת לעת. אם אפשר בקל - נר של שעוה.

A yahrtzeit candle should be lit that will burn for the entire twenty-four hours. If possible, the candle should be of beeswax.

Generally, the custom is to light it for the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Shneersohn, on the 10th of Shvat) since the current Lubavitcher Rebbe said to, and for the current(Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, on the 3rd of Tammuz).

Iit could be that the older Chassidim who were Chassidim of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe still lit a candle on his Yahrtzeit, but I don't think that any are still alive at this point (he passed away on the second of Nissan 1920).

  • What about people who were born after 3 Tammuz, 5754? Technically, they never had a direct kesher to R' MM"Sh – Noach MiFrankfurt May 23 '17 at 13:39
  • "להדליק נר שידלק כל המעת לעת. אם אפשר בקל - נר של שעוה" seems less like "A yahrtzeit candle should be lit that will burn for the entire twenty-four hours. If possible, the candle should be of beeswax" and more like "Light a yahrzeit lamp that will burn for the entire twenty-four hours. If easy, the lamp should be of wax" (or with "a candle" instead of "of wax"). – msh210 May 23 '17 at 17:22
  • @msh210 It's chabad.org's translation, and I do agree that אפשר בקל should be translated as "If easy" rather than "if possible". – Shmuel Brin May 23 '17 at 17:40
  • @ShmuelBrin Thanks. What about yizkor candles? Would one light one for the rabbeim alone, ie, even if one had no family to light a yizkor candle for? – SAH May 23 '17 at 22:19
  • @SAH I have heard the answer to your last question is "yes" – SAH Aug 17 '17 at 8:04

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