So, tonight’s the 6th yahrtzeit for my dad, Avraham ben Zorach a”h (Al, of blessed memory). Like everyone else that has lost a parent I lit my 24 hour yahrzeit candle (in the cool metal cup). I can easily say that lighting a memorial candle doesn’t do it for me (and I know I am not alone). I get the whole idea about a flame representing the soul, but it doesn’t evoke a feeling or memory for me. So tonight, like every other year, I went shopping and made sure to go the men’s grooming aisle. Amid the shavers and razor blades I took a bottle of the shelf, closed my eyes, opened the bottle of Brut, and breathed in through my nose. Instantly I’m a kid again hanging with my father.
Thanks for your memory. For me it was Old Spice under my father’s talks.
We make a berakhah on spices at havdalah because smells provide joy for the body in a distinctly spiritual way — there is no pragmatic benefit to the body (generally), it is all via the aesthetic experience.
May you father a”h’s neshamah continue to have one aliyah after another. And may his son continue to elevate his soul.
Mitch: Old Spice has stood the test of time.
Micha: You actually echoed something I was going to write (by decided to keep it shorter). A Bracha connected to a flame, like any Bracha over anything physical, raises the essence of the object to a higher level on a ruchnius level. Since the body is no longer a klei for the Neshama there isn’t an object to elevate. We are left with a flame that has no object to bless. So we light a candle on a yahrtzeit, which is pretty much the same as lighting a candle any other night. We are left remembering that nothing physical is left of the deceased, just a representation of the Neshama.