Volume 19 Number 54
                       Produced: Thu May 11 23:30:06 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Response to Z. Weiss on Yom HaAtzmaut
         [Justin M. Hornstein]
Yom Ha'atzmaut
         [Michael J Broyde]
Yom Haatzmaut
         [Jerrold Landau]


From: Justin M. Hornstein <jmh@...>
Date: Tue, 9 May 95 16:05:34 EDT
Subject: Response to Z. Weiss on Yom HaAtzmaut

Zvi Weiss writes in v19#46, regarding Yom Ha'Atzmaut and Sefira:
(all > items are Zvi's posting)

>While I am certainly sympathetic to the fact that Hashem saw fit to give 
>us the marvelous opportunity to have our own "operation" in Aretz rather...

I'm sorry , but I believe that this way of describing the State of
Israel is about as close as one can get to defamation short of calling
it illegitimate. It deprecates the gamut of Jews who ever did anything
for it, from those who gave their lives for it, to anyone who ever put a
coin in a pushka for it.

Rabbi Yitzchok Greenberg in "The Jewish Way" makes excellent points
about the State of Israel fitting comfortably in an halachic
perspective. I know that there are many other fine discussions of the

>Our basis for modifying the Tefillot on Hoshana Rabba appears to stem 
>from the fact that it is a Yom Hadin of some sort ... also 
>there is a special "Tikkun" for the night of Hoshana Rabba.  The main 
>point is that just because of "Simcha", we do not add extra Piyuttim to 
the Morning Tefilla.

Tell me how these "meta"/kabbalah issues of Hoshana Rabbah stack up
against an argument for adding Psalms on Yom Ha'Atzmaut. We do not add
Psalms "just because of Simcha", we add them because of obvious miracles
and national deliverance and that Hashem increases our greatness in the
eyes of the nations.  Can you say that our modern victory of few over
many doesn't constitute a Yom HaDin? I'm really not trying to be glib;
there are fundmental differences in Halachic perspective here, of how we
view ourselves and our peoplehood--the big picture counts.

>I, too, must question the idea that the Rabbanut has the authority to 
>enact this sort of "takkana".  I would like to know if anyone has seen 
>the literature on the celebration of a "Geula" of any sort where the 
>Tefillat Shacharit was modified in this manner.  We do have the history 
>of communities permanently commemorating "miraculous" events that 
>occurred to them (usually referred to as a "local Purim" for that 
>community) but I do not recall that ANY of them celebrated in that fashion.

The modifications of which you speak are minimal. An individual having
gone through a personal redemption can say Hallel, with a b'racha. What
of the entire Jewish people? There isn't anything "local" about what Yom
Ha'Atzmaut commemorates. The quote from Gilad Gevaryahu by Rav Herzog
z'l says it all.  If this doesn't create a "Global" Jewish community,
with a "global" celebration, what could? It may seem unprecedented, but
it seems to follow quite reasonably.

I don't see that a "takkana" has been issued; the adding of Tefillot and
abolishing of mourning one day in Sefirah by great Rabbanim in Israel
who witnessed a national redemption seems completely in tune with other
Rabbanim who enacted mourning in Sefirah and Av HaRachamim on Shabbat
Mevarchim because of great national suffering. Moreover, Rabbanim
speaking on behalf of the Jewish people in Israel have a credence that
isn't to be taken lightly. The fact that there are disagreements doesn't
denigrate the pronouncements of Rabbanim who are charged with the
religious welfare of all the Jews in Israel and beyond.

>In general, it is possible to make a very cogent argument that one 
>can and should celebrate the events of Yom Ha'Atzmaut and yet not lift 
>the strictures of Sefira.

The parts of the argument may be cogent, but then the reverse of the old
cartoon of the scientists describing the parts of a chemical reaction
comes in--here you'd have to say "and then a miracle doesn't occur..."
to get to the result.

Look, my bottom line is obvious: either Yom Ha'Atzmaut is worth a bunch
of things, or it isn't worth anything. I have heard Divrei Torah from
Rabbis of both apparent and muted Israel sympathies state that our
Sefira context is an outcome of a divided Jewish people, at odds with
itself and everyone else. Their upshot is that it makes perfect sense
that this would be the time of year to witness inroads into a Sefira of
mourning and turning it one day at a time into the Sefira of joy
originally intended. If there is any "Atchalta" (start, inception) in a
redemption, it should be in a basic halachic way. Hence, our calendar,
our prayers, our national attitude.

The haftara to be said (no b'racha) on Yom Ha'Atzmaut is that of the
eighth day of Peasach, Od Hayom, which is not said in Israel on
Pesach. I don't know the formal discussion of its inclusion, but it
seems clear that the added day of Pesach points the way to Mashiach, and
Yom Ha'Atzmaut, while not replacing formal Yom Tov, fits into the
progression as well.

>I have no doubt that such a person [jackpot winner] would truly be happy and,
>as a religious person, truly wish to express gratitude to Hashem yet I do 
>not know that the rules of Aveilut would be suspended for that 
>individual.  On Yom Ha'Atzmaut, we "won" a tremendous "prize" from 
>Hashem.  We have been given a precious opportunity that previous 
>generations could only dream about.  We have the chances that are almost 
>incomprehensible to our ancestors.  BUT, does this event override the 
>strictures of Sefira -- mourning for the loss of Talmidei Chachamim 
>during the Crusades and later?

>... At the same time, I cannot let the gift blind me to the loss that 
>was suffered...  Thus, perhaps, there is EXCELLENT reason NOT to waive 
>the stringencies of Sefira...

We suspend Aveilut for festivals, times of great national redemption and
gathering. We can wipe out personal mourning for a national jackpot
(chagim-festivals), if not a private one. Doesn't it make sense that
suspending mourning one day of a potential forty nine, originally given
to rejoicing, might constitute the exact same idea, when the entire
nation has won?

						Justin M. Hornstein


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 22:19:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Yom Ha'atzmaut

Lon Eisenberg asks a couple of questions concerning Israel's day of
independence.  I will try to place my onw thoughts after his questions.

> 1. If Hallel is said because of a miracle, what is the miracle of signing a
> piece of paper, i.e., why choose the 5th of Iyyar?  If that is not the
> justification for Hallel, what is?

Rav Meshulam Roth in shut kol mevaser 1:21 give what I consider to be the 
classical answer to this question.  The begining of the miricle was the 
UN declaration of Israel's independence; had that not occurred, nothing 
would have followed.  Indeed, had the UN voted not to create Israel, it 
certainly would not have been created.

> 2. Where do we learn to add Yom Tov psalms [pesukei dezimrah] for this
> occasion? We don't do it on Hannukah or Purim?

I will post something on this soon.  

> 3. If the 5th of Iyyar has significance, how do we celebrate this year (and
> last year) on a different day (Thursday is the 4th of Iyyar)?  (If we're
> worried about Shabbath desecration, then move the bar-b-q, but not the
> prayer-related aspects of the holiday.)

This was a topic of quite a bit of dispute in the aerly rabbinate and 
lead to a number of articles in the old periodical hatorah ve-hamidina.  
In essence, the question is why was the day moved back and not forward as 
we generally do?  The answer given is that the Rabbinate recongnized that 
there were many people who would celebrate who wre not observant, and 
that the whole day had to be shifted to avoid disecration.

> 4. How can we suspend observance of the mourning of sefeirah for this event
> (especially if we don't even celebrate it on the correct date)?

See Rav Herzog OC 99-100 and 105, as well as Shevet MeYehudah 2:57-60.  
If this day is a day where we thank God for his divine gift to us of the 
State of Israel, it is perfectly proper in the opinion of the vast bulk 
of the mizrachi poskim to suspend the minhag of sefirah, which itself -- 
as a form of avelut -- is not found in the talmud.

From: <landau@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Wed, 10 May 95 09:21:13 EDT
Subject: Yom Haatzmaut

A recent posting mentioned some customs that have developed for Yom
Haatzmaut.  Some of these customs do need some clarification.

The custom that many people will find the most difficult to understand
is the concept of a Kiddush on Yom Haatzmaut.  Kiddush is reserved for
Shabbat and Yom Tov, as a fulfillment of the positive command to express
the sanctity of the day.  As such, it has no place on Yom Haatzmaut.
However, if the Kiddush simply entails the recitation of some Psukim
(Biblical Verses) and the making of a 'Borei Pri Hagafen' (Blessing over
wine), which is what I believe is the case, then it is not really a
Kiddush, but really an expression of 'lechayim' (i.e. a toast) to the
State of Israel.  It is always permitted to recite Psukim, and it is
generally always permitted to drink a cup of wine, so there really is
nothing wrong with this type of Kiddush on Yom Haatzmaut (although the
use of the term Kiddush may be a misnomer).  I seem to remember many
years back (in the late 1970s) being at a Yom Haatzmaut service where
such a Kiddush was said, but it included a bracha of 'gaal Yisrael',
similar to what is said at the conclusion of maggid at the Seder, before
the Borei Pri Hagafen.  This would, of course, pose the problem of a
Bracha Levatala (a vain Bracha), as we have no right to institute our
own Brachas.  However, I believe that nowadays, the custom of Kiddush on
Yom Haatzmaut does not include anything more than Psukim, and a Borei
Pri Hagafen, and as such it is nothing more than a lechayim.  We make a
lechayim over many occasions -- why not over such a significant occasion
as the founding of the State of Israel?

The adding of Tehillim (Psalms) in Psukei Dezimra may also be
problematic.  Psukei Dezimra is a unit of prayer, surrounded by two
brachot (blessings).  In Nusach Ashkenaz, the extra Tehillim are added
between these two brachot, and as such there may be the concept of a
'hefsek' (interruption) by adding in extra tehillim.  In nusach Sefarad,
the extra Shabbat Tehillim are added in before Baruch Sheamar, and there
would be much less of a concept of interruption, I believe.  (Perhaps
someone can clarify this -- does an interruption in Pesukei Dezimra in
nusach Sefarad in the portions before Baruch Sheamar have the same
severity as an interruption after Baruch Sheamar).  However, Nusach
Sefarad, on Shabbat and Yom Tov, already insert a non Tehillim section
(Haaderet Vehaemuna) after Baruch Sheamar.  I have never been quite sure
how that is justified.  In any case, the halachic issue of whether or
not one can add more Tehillim to Pesukei Dezimra needs more

The custom of reciting some Tehillim (that are also recited at Kabbalat
Shabbat) before Maariv on Yom Haatzmaut seems less problematic
halachically.  I don't think that these were ever meant as a form of
'Kabbalat Yom Tov'.  They are really meant as a communal recitation of
Tehillim in thanksgiving for a miracle.  A community is always allowed
to get together to recite Tehillim (whether to ask G-d for salvation, or
to thank G-d for a salvation that has occurred).  The verses of Lecha
Dodi that are recited relate directly to the return of G-d's presence to
Yerushalayim, and as such are also quite appropriate for the occasion.
In any case, there is no interruption of any order of prayer here --
just a communal expression of praise, which is halachically benign
(provided that one sees the occasion as one which warrants praise).

Hallel without a beracha also seems to pose few halachic problems,
although there may be a problem of interrupting between the end of
Shmone Esrei and the Kaddish which follows (again, can anyone clarify).
The question of a beracha is a more weighty issue, and is open to much

In many of the synagogues in Toronto, Hallel without a Beracha, and the
recitation of the prayer for Israel, are common place on the day of Yom
Haatzmaut.  The long Pesukei Dezimra is generally not said.  In the
communal evening celebration, years back there used to be the recitation
of Hallel without a Beracha after Maariv, and the blowing of the Shofar.
In more recent years, these customs have not been followed.  The
Tehillim before Maariv are said, however.

In conclusion one can see that there are many halachic issues which need
to be looked at with reference to Yom Haatzmaut customs.  There are also
many hashkafic differences of opinion of how to (or whether to)
recognize the day.  If I might quote a Rosh Yeshiva of mine, he
mentioned that it is no coincidence that the all three of the recently
instituted days of significance (Yom Hashoah, Yom Haatzmaut, and Yom
Yerushalayim) fall during the days of Sefira.  This is a time period
when we remember that the disciples of Rabbi Akiva died of a plague
because they did not treat each other with respect.  These three days
seem to generate much machloket (controversy) and sinat chinam (blind
hatred) among the observant community.  We should take the message that
these days fall during Sefira, and try to look beyond the differences of
opinion that we may have, and learn to respect each other in spite of
our differing opinions.  We should not fall into the trap of sinat
chinam and machloket that these days put in front of us.

With Thanks to Hashem for the miracles that he has made for us, and a
request to Hashem for good things for Medinat Yisrael and Klal Yisrael,

Jerrold Landau


End of Volume 19 Issue 54