Yizkor – The Memorial Prayer
Yizkor, a special memorial prayer for the departed, is recited in the synagogue four times a year, following the Torah reading on the last day of Passover, on the second day of Shavuot, on Shemini Atzeret and on Yom Kippur.
The Meaning of Yizkor
Yizkor, in Hebrew, means “Remember.” It is not only the first word of the prayer, it also represents its overall theme. In this prayer, we implore G‑d to remember the souls of our relatives and friends that have passed on.
When we recite Yizkor, we renew and strengthen the connection between us and our loved one, bringing merit to the departed souls, elevating them in their celestial homes.
The main component of Yizkor is our private pledge to give charity following the holiday in honor of the deceased. By giving charity, we are performing a positive physical deed in this world, something that the departed can no longer do.
The soul gains additional merit if the memory of its good deeds spur their loved ones to improve their ways.
Who Says Yizkor
It is customary for those with both parents alive to leave the synagogue during the Yizkor service. A mourner during the first year remains in the synagogue, but does not recite the Yizkor. Some kindle a 24-hour Yizkor candle (before the holiday).
In addition to reciting Yizkor for one’s parents, one may recite Yizkor for any Jew who has passed on, including relatives and friends. When reciting Yizkor for more than one person, repeat the Yizkor paragraph each time, and substitute the words ” Aböh Mori ” (my father), or ” Imi Morösi ” (my mother), with the appropriate title, as follows: For a Husband: ” Ba-ali .” Son: ” B’ni .” Brother: ” Öchi .” Uncle: ” Dodi .” Grandfather: ” Z’kainy ” . Wife: ” Ishti .” Daughter: ” Biti .” Sister: ” Achosi .” Aunt: ” Dodosi .” Grandmother: ” Z’ken-ti .”