An Eternal Bond with the Eternal Soul
Although the passing of a person is a tremendous loss for relatives and friends, in Judaism Yahrzeits are a time of reflection and contemplative celebration – not mourning. The soul of the deceased is actualizing its life-long dream – reuniting with its Creator. Therefore a Yahrtzeit is not meant to be a depressing time, but rather a time to reflect on the person’s legacy, and resolve to live in a manner which will energize the soul in its Heavenly domicile.
After the soul departs the body it is in a state of constant ascendancy in Heaven. Every year, on the anniversary of death, the soul experiences a quantum leap, jumping to an entirely new level of divine pleasure and bliss.
Once the soul departs the body, it is incapable of doing Mitzvahs to accelerate its ascent through the spiritual levels of the spiritual Garden of Eden. Relatives and friends who are still alive, however, can perform good deeds in the merit of the departed soul, thus enabling the soul to reach heights which itself it cannot attain. This especially true on the yahrtzeit, when the soul is already “on the move.”
A Yahrtzeit also serves as a reminder to us that just as the soul is constantly ascending, so, too, we must constantly grow in our personal development through study, charity, and good deeds which we do in memory of the deceased. It is also a humbling reminder of our own mortality, and can inspire us to think about the purpose of our existence and what we can do to better fulfill that purpose.