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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Importance of Yom Ha-atzma'ut

There is some talk going around of people having a problem with celebrating Yom Haatzma'ut (Israel Independence Day) - by breaking the period of semi-mourning which we observe during the counting of the Omer, and by saying the beautiful "Hallel" prayer - for several reasons. One major reason, for 'dati' (religious) Jews - Israelis and American alike - is the Israeli government's lack of a Jewish identity in general; this has been evidenced by the terrible expulsion of the people in Gush Katif, and the new P.M. Ehud Olmert's future plan to remove certain so-called "settlements" from the Shomron (commonly known as the 'west bank') area.
I was just discussing this with my younger son on 'Skype'. He called to wish me a 'Yom Ha-atzma'ut Sameach' as he and his two sisters & older brother who are living in Israel were preparing to go to a celebration in the Yishuv where he lives. He is planning on a full celebration, and he explained to me why:
Despite the fact that Israel is loaded with problems, politically, socially and economically; despite the fact that the government is currupt and out for it's own power; despite the fact that a majority of Israelis are secular and don't care about the religious; despite the fact that many of the religious are no better than the government, in that they are themselves currupt and suck the government for welfare benefits while not contributing to society, either by not working and/or by not serving in the armed forces, nor do they care about the secular; despite the fact that the government is planning another shanda - expulsion of more Jews from towns they built up from nothing on the precious land of Eretz Yisrael - למרות כל זה - despite all this, we should celebrate Yom Ha-atzma'ut to the fullest. Why?
Think:
The one thing missing from this equation, is G-d. Nobody, certainly not the government, not the seculars, and not even the Hareidim, are basing their rhetoric nor actions "le-shem Shamayim", 'for the sake of Heaven'.
But it is precisely because of the sake of Heaven, that we should be celebrating Yom Ha-atzma'ut! It is 'Yad Hashem' that enabled us to create the State of Israel 58 years ago, after two-thousand years of living under non-Jewish rule, suffering church and government-imposed persecution and worse. It is nothing short of miraculous that the Jewish people, for years totally out of practice in governing ourselves, and badly in need of learning how to defend ourselves (we are still weak in that area. We need to work on our 'gvurah', and realize that fighting for our Land doesn't have to be 'politically correct'), have gained a State of their own, in the Land promised it by G-d. according to the Torah.
In celebrating Yom Ha-atzma'ut, we are acknowleging and thanking Ribono shel-Olam for bringing us to the Land, enabling us to build houses of Torah learning, and in general reviving the תחיה - the vibrant life - of the Jewish People in it's own ancient Land.
To paraphrase Rabbi Akiva when his student lamented seeing a fox roaming around in the ruins of the Beit Hamikdash, 'I rejoice, because just as the prophecy of the destruction came true, so will the prophecy of the future geula.'
Quoting Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El (who is the subject of the wonderful Arutz Sheva article linked above):
"But the very existence of the State is a Divine gift on our way to our Redemption, and we have to thank G-d and rejoice in this. "
So, Yom Ha-atzma'ut Sameach!
p.s. - in case the link above doesn't work, here is the URL: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=102932
-And here's another article on Yom Ha-atzma'ut worth reading: http://www.jewsweek.com/bin/en.jsp?enPage=HomePage



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4 comments:

the sabra said...

uh not quite.
if you want to celebrate and thank G-d for the land, why do you wave the blue and white flag?
all we want is a land, not a STATE! and at this point, our land is goin and goin and goin. soon you'll have a gorgeous state, with no land. with no holiness AT ALL (chas vsholom...)
it is just wrong wrong wrong.

(nemo or someone, can you help me out a bit here??)

Lady-Light said...

Sabra,
VERY interesting you say that; the conversation I had with my younger son on Yom Haatzma'ut was just about that! He is the one who said, the State is not what we need - but that is what we currently have; we are thanking Hashem for the Land, for enabling Jews to live again on the land, for the beginnings of the geula. He actually suggested a different pollitical/economic mode, which did not include a central government. Back to the שנים-עשר שבטים model, with a נשיא as head of each tribe, perhaps...but we'd need another Moshe Rabbeinu for that to work, wouldn't we...
(hey, why did you ask for NEMO?? I'm not good enough for you?!)

the sabra said...

the truth? nemo knows all the sources :) (o and i dont wanna get on his bad side..he was one of my 'readers')

back to the topic at hand-i dont know about the 12 shevatim but otherwise i do agree with your son. a government is fine-if its following torah

(ha that reminds me-on my aliyah application i had to fill out what i thought would be some of the challenges i would face once living in israel, and how i plan on solving em. for one of em i wrote 'learning how to live with this government that does not follow halacha!' my solution? 'run for prime minister'.
surprisingly enough, i was accepted)

Lady-Light said...

hahah - great answer! You took a risk, there, however; you probably had a bunch of chilonim inspecting your Aliyah papers. But I guess unless you are a serial killer, they will take you in under the law of return!
(and, Nemo is not the only one who knows the sources!)

 
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