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Beit Midrash Shabbat and Holidays Yom Haatzmaut

Why celebrate

What reason do we have to celebrate on Israeli Independence Day and what what are religious people happy about? We should celebrate the progress we have made, and pray for what needs completion.
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We received a letter with this question: "What reason do we have to celebrate on Israeli Independence Day and what what are religious people happy about? It is a secular country and caused many Jews to abandon Yiddishkeit"? Others compare celebrating Independence Day, to a family celebrating the birth of a baby born with a birth defect. We expected a complete redemption, and then came a country whose leaders are far from Torah and mitzvot, and doesn’t function as a religious state. It is, therefore far from perfect and has many defects.

I think there is no similarity between the parable and the State of Israel. This example is misleading and interferes with our understanding of the day. If we want to give an example, here is more accurate one: A family expected a baby for a long time. Just before the birth, the family suffered severe illnesses and emotional crises. They are then blessed with the birth of a healthy child. Aren’t they happy for because of the birth? Is the joy of birth canceled because they have other troubles? On the contrary, it is a consolation to get a live child which is healthy and happy. The sickness is not of the state but of the nation.The State of Israel did not create the nation's spiritual crisis. The crisis was before, and independant of the state. Who knows what would have happened to the nation’s spiritually without a state. We can see what has happened today to the Jews overseas. The assimilation situation there is terrible! Without the establishment of the state, which raised the stature of the Jewish people all over the world, the situation would have been much worse! The establishment of the State has enhanced Jewish identity worldwide!
We've received the State while we were in a crisis, immediately after the Holocaust, and because our low morale we did not get all of the spiritual power we could get out of our state. If our spiritual level will be higher, we can reach new spiritual hights - with the State.
But even in the current situation of the State, Israel saved half a million Russian Jews, who were being lead to a spiritual destruction. Israel is truely is a spiritual center for all Jews. Shlichim are sent from Israel to Jewish communities around the world to strengthen Judaism. There is certainly a reason to be happy, but also to a need to pray. We should celebrate the progress we have made, and pray for what needs completion.
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva, was the head of the Yesha rabbis board and rabbi of Bet-El, founder and head of Arutz 7.
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