DIY- Memorial candle for my grandfather + a story

Tonight is the 6th anniversary of my grandfathers passing. When I was pregnant with the twins, I would often think of my grandfather, who was a well known and very well respected Hassidic Rabbi, and I would think about his ancestors, which included some of the most famous rabbis in the last few hundred years of Jewish History, and I thought “No way my babies are going to die. He won’t let them.”

Well, I guess he had only so much say in the matter.

He died a year before Molly was born. He’d met Elie once. Actually, twice, but he could only communicate the first time. Elie and I had been dating for 5 months when he came with my family to Florida to celebrate passover. My grandfather called Elie to his house and told him to propose to me. Like, that day. Elie, who’d not yet even met my dad yet, assured him it was going to happen, but not that day.

The truth is, in some way, my grandfather was maybe responsible for me meeting Elie. I’d been dating a guy for almost 5 years and inside I knew it was a dead end but couldn’t admit it to myself just yet. My grandfather took it upon himself to call my boyfriend and tell him, basically, shit or get off the pot. It was that action that basically let me know, internally, I didn’t care if he shat or got off the pot. I wasn’t supposed to be there. So I left.

Two weeks later I met Elie.

11 months later, we were married. My grandfather, too sick to travel, listened to the ceremony via cell phone. He passed away 5 months later.

Anyway, I guess I just feel like he’s still looking out for me. Tonight my mother texted me that it is the anniversary of his passing – his yartzeit, in yiddish, and we should light a candle if we have one.

They make special memorial candles, but most of them are effing ugly.Β And I don’t have one anyway. So I decided to make one myself. I remembered my mom made one herself for my stepdad when I was a teenager. She used a really pretty cut crystal goblet and it reflected beautiful dancing shapes of light on a white tablecloth. But I also remember when the candle got down to the bottom of the glass, it got too hot and the goblet shattered into a million glass shards, and that was really kinda sad, on many levels. So I added a votive holder at the bottom. and used something less delicate.

Here’s what I did:

What I Used: Pretty durable Glass + 6 White unscented (shabbat) candles + Microwave safe dish + Glass Votive holder. Not Shown: Wooden shish kabob skewers


I microwaved 5 of the candles for about 5 minutes. Then I fished out the wicks with the skewer.

***edited to add: The candle didn’t burn well. It was very dense and kept going out. I made another one and mixed about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the melted wax. That made it the perfect texture an it burned beautifully.


While it melted I prepared the center candle.


Then I poured.


I should have then put it in the freezer but I didn’t. I put it in the fridge.


Then I ran into some trouble.



Then, I ultimately did put it n the freezer.

***edited to add: on the second version I just melted the wick to the skewer at the outset by dripping a candle onto the wick before I poured the hot wax.

After it was solid, I took it out and lit it. BEHOLD:


I decided to light Sunshine and Daisy’s candles too. It just seemed like the thing to do.

It was really so simple and quick and I LOVE the idea of making custom memorial candles in meaningful glasses or cups that are etched or even just painted with names and dates…

As an aside, I need to share that while writing this blog post I heard Elie sneeze downstairs so I grabbed my phone to text him a “bless you” (yes, you read that correctly) and while checking an email that arrived just then from Still Standing Magazine, this popped up on my phone.


I really can’t begin to get into the meaning of this… I’m really just sharing it for my cousin L’via, and because I feel like I’m just supposed to be sharing it.

Love & Muchness, Tova

3 Replies to “DIY- Memorial candle for my grandfather + a story”

  1. Alexa

    There are so many beautiful traditions in the Jewish faith. I really like this one, and think I may implement it in my own home! πŸ™‚ Your grandfather sounds like an amazing man. I love your Tutorial here!

    • Tova Gold Post author

      I have to update the tutorial! It didn’t burn so well, the wax was too dense. HOWEVER I made another and when the wax was in liquid form I mixed in about 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Then I poured it. It didn’t melt through the center candle because the oil cooled the wax a bit and the resulting candle burned beautifully. πŸ™‚


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