Lighting candles in Jewish Tradition: Getting closer to Tzadikim after they are gone

Lighting candles for loved ones and Tzaddikim has been a long-standing Jewish tradition, and while it’s not mentioned in the Codes of Law, it holds deep significance.

There are two main practices: lighting a candle on a yartzheit or any other day of the year, both meant to remember the departed, be it a family member or a Tzaddik. The verses “The Mitzvah is a candle and the Torah is light” and “The soul of a person is Hashem’s candle” shed light on the importance of lighting candles for Tzaddikim.

By drawing down the illumination of their souls, which is likened to a candle, we keep their memory alive, and this can bring us blessings.

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But, there is more to lighting candles than meets the eye

According to R’ Bachya ben Asher and the Zohar, the light from a candle brings pleasure to our souls and represents the five levels of the soul. The candle’s physical light corresponds to the spiritual light that our souls emit.

Moreover, lighting a candle does not bring back departed souls, as stated in the Talmud. Avraham Avinu stands at the entrance of Gehinom to prevent those who kept their Brit from entering, but this does not mean he spends his time there constantly.

Similarly, souls in Gan Eden have no reason to leave their wondrous existence to come back to Earth.

Although we know that Tzaddikim wish to bless those who follow them, only an impression of their soul comes down to help us in this world. Lighting a candle serves as an intermediary to bring the impression of the departed soul.

This practice is not to be underestimated, as it is customary to light a memorial candle before Yom Kippur to atone for the souls of the departed and bring them elevation.

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Tzaddikim act as our protector in court and help our prayers rise, bringing down blessings to us. The Zohar and Talmud testify to the tremendous power Tzaddikim wield after their passing through their prayers.

Lighting a candle is a strong way to connect with Tzaddikim and draw illumination from their souls. This does not mean we attribute independent power to Tzaddikim or forget about Hashem, but rather that Tzaddikim can exert a lot of influence and effort on our behalf in the spiritual worlds.

It is advisable to start forging a relationship with a Tzaddik by studying their works, telling their stories, celebrating their yartzheit, and lighting a candle in their honor.

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Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

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