Tradition & Innovation
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Lighting the Memorial Candle

By Jennifer Feldman

At the beginning of shivah, a candle that burns the whole week is lit.

We usually light candles to rejoice, to mark the beginning of a holiday or to usher in Shabbat. Now, we stand before a candle that marks both loss and connection, presence and absence. We light this candle to represent the presence of _________, with us even as we return from the cemetery to mourn her/his heath. His/her spirit lives on with us in our memories and in the way our memories influence how we choose to live. For some of us, this presence may be as palpable as the heat and changing colors of this flame. Yet like this flame it cannot be held or embraced.

Source of life's mystery, source of life's fragility and its hard-edged boundaries, have compassion on us as we mourn our loss. May this flame remind us that loved ones' presence in our lives does not end with death. May we find comfort as we draw together in this candle's light. And may _________'s memory be blessing for all of us.

Ner Adonai nishmat adam

The human soul is the lamp of God.

The candle is lit.

We have lit this candle at a time of great darkness, praying that over the period of this shivah observance the love and caring that surround us will bring us back towards the light.