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Ask the rabbi Family and Society Yartzeit - Memorial Day

Yartziet of a baby that died within 30 days of birth

Rabbi Elchanan Lewis25 Shevat 5766
437
Question
I need some direction on how to deal with a situation. About 12 years ago I had a baby boy (early) who died from an infection 29 days later. After that we had 2 still-borns. B"H now we have 2 healthy children. Since there was no chiuvim of shivah or shloshim for that first baby my wife and I had not done anything to commemorate his yartziet. All this changed this year, when she insisted on lighting a candle in the house with a picture of the baby near the candle. She said that she had wanted to do this for a long time because even though halochokly the baby was considered a still-born she had a connection with him and wants to remember him. Now she is considering finding out where he is buried and go to visit him. I want to move past this and devote my time and energy to my children. Also, I don’t want the children to be effected by this past tragedy. Is there any Hashkofa sefer or answer to follow in this matter? Thank you.
Answer
It’s not bad to remember, it might be important and comforting for the mother as well. The notion of going to the grave if of memory, we remember the person and his legacy, in a case of a baby so young, there is no legacy and the only memory is of pain, which is not a recommended thing. If it is a “once a year” visit – that sounds very reasonable to me, but if it upsets the whole family balance you might want to be assisted by a professional to calm the pain. A Yahrtzite candle can be lit, one should have in mind that there is no need to; the candle is to express the fact the soul is not perfected and we light a candle to resemble that, in a case of a baby less than 30 days, the Neshamah is a perfect one of no blemish at all. All the best
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