Published 5/5/2011Continue reading Al haNissim for Yom HaAssmauth and Yom Yerushalayim
The story is told of the Hassidic rebbe who, upon the establishment of the State of Israel, began to recite the thanksgiving prayer of Hallel on Yom Ha'assmauth, Israel's Independence Day. After a few years, his followers noticed that the rebbe no longer recited Hallel. When queried about this he explained: "When a child is born, everyone is happy. But if, as he grows up, he goes off the correct path and moves away from the Torah, the earlier jubilation becomes inappropriate".
It is becoming increasingly apparent that certain circles within the National-Religious camp feel the same way. Two years ago, in the weeks leading up to Independence Day - and in the wake of the unprecedented tragedy and debacle of the "disengagement" - a lively debate was conducted in newspapers and Internet forums regarding the correct attitude to Yom Ha'assmauth, particularly with reference to Hallel. Some of the participants expressed second thoughts about the previously unchallenged practice of reciting Hallel. I have since become aware of at least one rosh yeshivah (dean) who has instructed his students to desist from celebrating the day altogether.
...The common denominator in all variants of this phenomenon is a profound sense of disappointment with the way the State has turned out thus far, as well as the perceived need, for educational reasons, to keep one's distance from a secular and "ungodly" system.
While certainly agreeing with these sentiments, I question whether an essentially Halachic issue can be determined based on subjective impressions, changing political realities or educational constraints. To better grasp the issues at stake, we must examine the sources.
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