Today is my dad’d first yahrzeit – the anniversary of his death in the Hebrew lunar calendar.

Memory is not circumscribed by a candle

For this first anniversary of your death,
I was so happy to find a proper yahrzeit candle –
plain white in a glass cup, made to burn the
prescribed twenty-four hours.

But I don’t have twenty-four hours to sit by it –
though you’re gone, I still have a living to earn
and candles aren’t safe when guarded only by glass.
You worked so hard for our welfare – you
would not want me to lose either my job
or my house to the irony of a rogue flame.

And so I blow the candle out when I leave,
though your day has hours more to burn.
but only the physical combustion has ended.
Your memory still glows, as it did yesterday
and as it will when this memorial day, too, has blown out.

I did go to the Chabad last Shabbat. It was a mixed experience – the rabbi was welcoming and a few other people talked to me. The service was mostly him chanting at the front of the room, very fast, with a lot less congregation participation than I’m used to (I think in a more traditional and long-established setting, everyone else would know the prayers as well as the rabbi does and would be chanting or mumbling on their own, not in unison). I wouldn’t have known when to stand for Kaddish anyway. I’m glad I went; it was interesting. Don’t think I’ll be going back, or not often.

And also I got this, to have by me at work – apparently electric “candles” are just fine.