Yahrtzeit – 2 Adars
My mother passed away on 10 Adar of a year with only a single Adar. I see this year is a leap year with two Adars. On which one do I observe the yahrtzeit?
The Aish Rabbi Replies
There are different customs for this. Some see the second Adar as the primary one, as we celebrate Purim on the second. Others see the first Adar as the “actual” month of “Adar,” with the second Adar not being “Adar” but “Adar 2.” There is also the consideration that we should not “pass by” a mitzvah when it arrives by skipping the first Adar and only commemorating the second.
In practice, the custom of Sephardi Jews is to observe the yahrtzeit on the second Adar. Ashkenazi Jews should preferably observe both days – to light the yahrtzeit candle, recite Kaddish and fast if they are able. If, however, this is difficult, only the first Adar is observed (Shulchan Aruch O.C. 568:7 with Rema and Mishnah Berurah 41-2).
If a person's parent passed away during an Adar of a year with two Adars, then in subsequent years with two Adars only the Adar in which he passed away is observed as the yahrtzeit.