It wasn’t until the Yizkor service that I realized my mistake.
I love the moment when we are sitting in the Sanctuary, the late afternoon sun is streaming through the stained glass windows casting a golden glow over the congregation and representatives from the Sisterhood stand at each of the memorial boards and turn on all of the lights on the memorial plaques.
I know this is a memorial service for those who have passed away and it is traditionally very solemn, but something about the moment makes me feel more joyous than sad.
There is something comforting about all of those people and all of their lights and all of their lives lighting up together for us to feel and remember them all. It is not like the lonely one or two lights that shine during services at each Shabbat, commemorating the individual Yahrzeits.
It is collective and powerful and fills me.
Somehow I imagine that it has a similar effect on those whose memories are being honored as well. They might feel a little less lonely since they are being remembered in a crowd. Lighting up together, connecting through our collective memories.
So that’s when I remembered that I forgot to light the candles at home and I was sad. It gives me similar solace to see the light of my parents’ memories dancing together on our kitchen counter for a full 24 hours and I missed it.
I light a single candle on the anniversary of each of their deaths, but it feels a bit more lonely and a reminder of our loss.
The funny thing is that I planned ahead. If you call shopping on eBay planning ahead. I ordered yarzheit candles and special holders from Israel. I purchased them months in advance in anticipation of this moment.
And then I forgot.
My family suggested that I could still do it when we got home, but it did not feel right. The flame would seem false. In reality, the service would be enough.
I am pretty sure that it bothers me more than it would my parents. They were of a generally forgiving nature in life. I can’t imagine it would be any different now.
I will remember next year. I will remember them and the others and the candles.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of the Yamim Noraim, my apologies. I will try again in 5773.