I received from both Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael and Ahavas Sholom a notice that my father’s yahrzeit, Adar 21, will celebrated on February 22, 2022. He died in a non-leap year. This Hebrew year is a leap year, and we have two Adars, Adar Rishon and Adar Sheni. The Notices that I received put my father’s yahrzeit at 21 Adar Rishon. Purim is celebrated in Adar Sheni in a leap year.
I was curious whether my father’s yahrzeit should be celebrated in Adar Rishon or Adar Sheni when it is leap year. I thought the Adar Sheni was the true Adar, because it contains Purim. Rabbi David Golinkin, a renowned scholar, wrote an article 11 years ago about the dispute between rabbis who thought the yahrzeits should celebrated in Adar Rishon or Adar Sheni if the person died in a non-leap year Adar.
There are four approaches to this dilemma, according to Rabbi Golinkin.
The first approach is to observe the yahrzeit in Adar Rishon. The primary reason for this approach is Moses died in 7 Adar, and his yahrzeit is celebrated in Adar Rishon in a leap year. We should do the same for all people who die in Adar.
The second approach is to celebrate the yahrzeit in Adar Sheni. Purim in a leap year will celebrated in Adar Sheni, and all of the mitzvot attending Purim should be observed in Adar Sheni. Therefore, yahrzeits should be also observed in Adar Sheni.
The third approach is to celebrate the yahrzeit in both Adars, since there is a doubt.
The fourth approach is to celebrate the first yahrzeit in Adar Rishon, and thereafter celebrate the yahrzeit in Adar Sheni.
I am not a scholar, but Rabbi Golinkin (who is a scholar) says that there is a rationale to celebrate the yahrzeit in Adar Rishon or Adar Sheni. Rabbi Golinkin, however, prefers the custom of Adar Sheni. I will follow Rabbi Golinkin’s preference, inasmuch as Adar Sheni contains Purim: the real Adar. In accordance, I will celebrate my father’s yahrzeit on 21 Adar Sheni, which is Thursday, March 24 in the current year.