Dear Rabbi Simon,
Before Shavuot I lit yahrzeit candles for my parents as well as one for my boyfriend who passed away 2 years ago. My parents’ candles lasted exactly 24 hours but my boyfriend’s candle lasted 28 hours. Does this mean anything as the 3 candles were all lit at the same time? I keep thinking my boyfriend wasn’t ready to leave this world as he was still young. It’s upsetting me so much I am broken up over it. I would appreciate your thoughts.
Thank you for your poignant question.
It may well be the case that your boyfriend was taken from this world “before his time”. However, I would be cautious about ascribing a particular interpretation to the longevity of a candle. Any number of factors may contribute to how long a candle burns. It is difficult to say if the nature of the soul it is intended to commemorate is among them.
Either way, the fact that you memorialised your parents and your boyfriend, all of whom have transitioned to a better world, reflects your devotion to their legacies and their impact on your life. I would add that a source of merit to their souls would be to give tzedakah or perform acts of kindness in their memory.
May their souls be bound up in the bond of the living.
Rabbi Rashi Simon