Monday, April 23, 2007

Hallel on Yom Ha-Atzma'ut: Some Musings

Gil has provided a most succinct and organized presentation on the question of Hallel on Yom Ha-Atzma'ut, and who says to say (or not say) what.

The truth of the matter is that I'm less and less concerned, or impressed, with the issue as a litmus test of one's Zionism. Of course, in my opinion, those who say Tahanun (or Kinnot or Selihot) are tremendous ingrates who kick the altar like Miriam bat Bilga (cf. Sukkah 56b). They are perfectly willing to live off of us. They'll visit the Koysel and Maaras HaMakhpayyla, secured by us and our children. The entire time, though, they'll kvetch and make totally obnoxious comments.

For example, when I was still living in Jerusalem, I did shmira on Rosh Hashanah outside of shul. Now, the particular minyan that davened near where I was patrolling with my trust M-1 had a lot of bereaved parents among its members. Some American lady came up to me and asked, 'Where's the frum shul?' Stunned, I asked her to explain what she meant. 'Well, this is the Zionist sort of shul. I want a frum shul.' I was absolutely enraged. I thought immediately of one of the people inside davening. He survived the Shoah, married and had one son. That son was killed in Milhemet Yom ha-Kippurim. Nevertheless, he was the gentlest, sweetest man I knew. The minyan's candy man, you know the type. He never missed a minyan. He was a God-fearing, shomer mitzvos. And here was this person, daring to make such invidious and insidious comments. I turned to her and said: 'You know. There are mitpallelim inside who lost their children in battle so that you can come here. They are the truly religious people. So,I suggest you get the hell out of here and go over to Shaare Hesed and find yourself a frum minyan.'

That's not the type I'm talking about.

I'm referring to those who fancy themselves Zionists. In the States, Hallel with a berakha on Yom Ha-Atzma'ut is the litmus test of loyalty to the cause. I've seen a lot of humiliation meted out to people who question the need for it. While I appreciate their devotion to Israel, it all rings hollow since they're not here. So, I would prefer they packed up and moved here. That's worth alot more than all these Hallels and Israel Nights and so on.

Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely think you should say Hallel. The blessing is secondary. The important thing is to thank HaQadosh Barukh Hu for giving us a State, and for maintaining us in violation of every historical law I know. That Hallel, moreover, acquires its real meaning as we go about our daily routine, acquire this country with our yissurim, work to serve God and make this country more Jewish, and defend it against our physical and spiritual enemies.

תהלים פרק קיח
טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּד' מִבְּטֹחַ בִּנְדִיבִים:(י) כָּל גּוֹיִם סְבָבוּנִי בְּשֵׁם ד' כִּי אֲמִילַם:(יא) סַבּוּנִי גַם סְבָבוּנִי בְּשֵׁם ד' כִּי אֲמִילַם:(יב) סַבּוּנִי כִדְבוֹרִים דֹּעֲכוּ כְּאֵשׁ קוֹצִים בְּשֵׁם ד' כִּי אֲמִילַם:(יג) דַּחֹה דְחִיתַנִי לִנְפֹּל וַד' עֲזָרָנִי:(יד) עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת י-ָהּ וַיְהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה:(טו) קוֹל רִנָּה וִישׁוּעָה בְּאָהֳלֵי צַדִּיקִים יְמִין ד' עֹשָׂה חָיִל:(טז) יְמִין יְקֹוָק רוֹמֵמָה יְמִין ד' עֹשָׂה חָיִל:(יז) לֹא אָמוּת כִּי אֶחְיֶה וַאֲסַפֵּר מַעֲשֵׂי יָ-הּ:(יח) יַסֹּר יִסְּרַנִּי י-ָּהּ וְלַמָּוֶת לֹא נְתָנָנִי:(יט) פִּתְחוּ לִי שַׁעֲרֵי צֶדֶק אָבֹא בָם אוֹדֶה י-ָהּ:(כ) זֶה הַשַּׁעַר לַד' צַדִּיקִים יָבֹאוּ בוֹ:(כא) אוֹדְךָ כִּי עֲנִיתָנִי וַתְּהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה:(כב) אֶבֶן מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים הָיְתָה לְרֹאשׁ פִּנָּה:(כג) מֵאֵת ד' הָיְתָה זֹּאת הִיא
נִפְלָאת בְּעֵינֵינוּ:(כד) זֶה הַיּוֹם עָשָׂה ד' נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בוֹ:
חג עצמאות שמח!


Mike Miller said...

What about those (admittedly few) who don't visit the Kotel or other sites from '67?

babyrabbi said...

I sometimes feel that in my shul, people would not care if I had relations with a non-Jewish woman in the back of a moving car, while eating a ham sandwich, on Yom Kippur, so long as I said Hallel with a bracha on Yom Haatzmaut. Many of these people don't say Hallel of any kind on boring ol' Rosh Chodesh...I'm all in favor of Yom Haatzmaut, but the touchiness and hypocrisy evinced by American Jews around this time annoys me intensely.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, in my opinion, those who say Tahanun (or Kinnot or Selihot) are tremendous ingrates..."

Ahm, can't it be that they are thoroughly appreciative of the State but reject alterations to prayer [a la the Rav, who did not move to Israel despite his Zionism either].

Mike Miller said...

Anonymous: I assume you're only referring to the non-removal of Tahanun.

Adding Kinnot or Selihot (except on BHB) is certainly an addition...

Anonymous said...

I don't say hallel, but I moved to Israel, and in the basic sense of supporting the Jewish enterprise in Israel and understanding the need for sovereignty I am a zionist. That's the end of my zionism, however. At the same time, I don't begrudge you the right to say it with or without a berachah. I simply don't believe this is the realization of our fathers' dreams - though its an essential first step. A moshul: when the children of Israel left Egypt they sang their song on the far side of the sea, after the Egyptians had been drowned. If you want to say hallel upon seeing the sea split, so be it, but I will wait until the miracle is complete. But, you will note, I do not deny a miracle is taking place. Indeed, whether one says a beracha at the beginning or end of a miracle is one of the debates poskim have on this issue. As such, my hats off to you, and as I participate in the miracle along with you, I hope yours is off to me as well.

Menachem Butler said...

Did Rav Soloveitchik ever say Hallel with a berakha?

Dave (Balashon) said...

In some ways, I think that the miracle of the creation of the State is so great that all the focus on Hallel on Yom HaAtzmaut does it a disservice (and I'm not even talking about those who make fun of the day being pushed off because of concern of Hillul Shabbat.)

Hallel only on 5 Iyar? We should be saying Hallel every single day! Of course we should also be saying Hallel every day for Yetziat Mitzrayim, but we're not just being grateful for a miracle in the past, but experience amazing wonders every day...

Jeffrey said...

To Mike Miller: They're included.

To Anonymous #1: Theoretically, you're right. However, people will skip Tahanun because of a Rebbe's second-cousin's step-son's Pidyon HaBen. If they won't do it on YA, it's a statement.

To anonymous #2: You're here. There is no greater expression of appreciation.

To Menachem: I don't know. There were all kinds of rumors either way. I suspect he did not say it with a Bracha. It would have been totally out of character.

To Dave: I agree.

Ben Bayit said...

An excellent post - though I have some bit of respect for a guy who has ten children but doesn't take a shekel from the bituach leumi, makes his own bread adnd olive oil, and who will fast on Yom Haatzmaut - even on the day of his son's bris. How can one not have at least some respect for that ideological purity - even though his attitude about the state is so wrong? It's the frummer yidden like that lady from American you mention that are disgusting - not the NK ideologues (and I don't include the Iranian wackos in this category - apparently neither do the real Neturei Karta folks )