The Perfectly Timed Yartzeit

“….This day I am one hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer go or come…..”(Devarim 31:2)

The Talmud (Kiddushin 38a) explains: ‘This day’ need not be stated; why then is it stated? It teaches that G-d sits and completes the years of the righteous from day to day and month to month.

Parashat Nitzavim-Vayelech

The Tanya (Igeres Hakodesh 27) teaches that after a tzadik passes away, when his soul is no longer confined within a physical body in physical space, his disciples can connect with and be influenced by the very essence of their teacher’s soul. While he was still alive, only a glimmer of the tzadik’s soul radiated beyond its vessel – his body, reaching them through his thoughts and words. As his soul ascends higher and higher in Gan Eden, all who became servants of G‑d through this tzadik’s Torah and Divine worship are further influenced by the spiritual achievements that he is now attaining; his spiritual climb causes thoughts of repentance and good deeds to be instilled in the hearts of his disciples.

Accordingly, we can explain the significance of the tzadik passing away on the same date as which he was born. A birthday commemorates the day one arrives in this world, bringing the world the unique gifts which he or she will contribute. For the tzadik, his birth and gift to the world is more revealed on the day he passes away than on the day that he was physically born! G-d therefore “completes the years of the righteous from day to day and month to month”, because in the tzadik’s life, his yartzeit is synonymous with his birthday; moreover, what was only in potential on the day that the tzadik was born, truly goes into full effect on the day that he passes away.

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