Yom HaAtzmaut – The Questions and Judaism’s Answers

Every year, we celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, in many different ways. Some say Hallel and wear holiday clothes, while others fulfill the sacred mitzvah of going to Gan Soccer and grilling meat (only kosher of course!). In any case, there are always a few questions about this holiday, that the honest, thinking, Torah Jew will ask, and few have ever answered.

So much so, that these questions have caused many people to foolishly disregard the sanctity of this special day, and the obligation of each and every Jew to give thanks to G-d on it.

Question: Not all the Jews of the world were saved – therefore why should we say Hallel?

Answer: Let us analyze this statement in a Halachic perspective.

The Rambam writes (Sefer HaMitzvot, Positive 153): “G-d forbid that we should even imagine that the Jews of Israel left the Land of Israel, for G-d promised us that He would not wipe out our entire Nation…”.

The Chatam Sofer notes here (Chatam Sofer, Yoreh Deah, 334): “It is apparent from his [the Rambam’s] words, that if G-d forbid there would be left no Jew in the Land of Israel, even if there were Jews outside of the Land, it is considered the “destruction of the Nation”, G-d forbid”.

We see from the above, that the Jews of the Land of Israel have the Halachic status of the entire Jewish nation. If not one was left, G-d forbid, it would be considered the destruction of out entire People. Thus, on Yom HaAtzmaut, the entire Jewish People have the halachic status of being saved.

Question: It is evident that many of the Jews in Israel today are sinners, and have left the true path of Torah. Why then should we celebrate the independence of a State that doesn’t follow the Laws of the Torah?

Answer: For a Jew to have this attitude towards our history, is foolish at the very least. Let us examine the following:

For thousands of years already, the Jewish people across the world have celebrated Pesach as the ultimate holiday of our redemption from Egypt. Did the Jews not sin after we left Israel with the Golden Calf? Didn’t thousands of our ancestors worship this idol? Yes! But it did not keep us from celebrating the greater picture. We were now free, to serve G-d as we wished.

A little know fact as well about the holiday of Chanukkah. The “Greatly Righteous” Chashmonaim, who stood up and fought for Jewish independence against the Greeks, later became a kingdom of heresy, as they became Sadducees. Did this stop anyone from celebrating the miracle of Chanukkah? Have you found a community so “religious”, that they no longer light chanukkiot for eight days each year? Of course not!

Have you found a community so “religious”, that they no longer light chanukkiot for eight days each year? Of course not!

The same is true with Yom HaAtzmaut. Hashem freed us on this day, from the hands of our enemies. The stories of miracles are endless. We were saved from death to life, and from bondage of other nations, to our own independence. Does G-d no longer deserve our praises, just because there are problems which we cause? It is absolutely ridiculous to say so.

Question: There was a great sanctification of G-d’s name in 1948, when He raised the necks of His People in the Land of Israel. But at the same time, it gave way to a State devoid of Torah and Mitzvot. Is this not a chilul Hashem?

Answer: The Talmud Yerushalmi tells us something very puzzling: “Rabbi Abba bar Zamina said in the name of Rabbi Hoshea: a kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name) is greater than a chilul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s name)”.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook zt”l asks: did the Gemara really need to tell us that sanctifying G-d’s name is greater than desecrating it? Of course not! Rather the Gemara is teaching us a valuable lesson. In any case where the circumstances cause that there is a desecration of G-d’s name along with a sanctification of G-d’s name- the latter always sticks out and takes precedence!

Sanctification of G-d’s name always takes precedence!

The same is true with out situation today. We live in a world that is not perfect. G-d has begun to free His People from this bitter exile. He showed the world His Might in May of 1948. We have let Him down by building here something not according to His Will. Yet, at the end of the day, that is not what matters. It is the sanctification of His Name that we must celebrate – with a prayer in our hearts that we will be able to see His Ultimate will come speedily in our days, amen!

Moadim L’Simcha – Chagim U’Zmanim L’Sasson!

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