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Beit Midrash Shabbat and Holidays Yom Haatzmaut

What are we so happy about?

It is not the state that is sick but the nation. Were it not for the establishment of the state who knows what would have happened to the Jewish people from a spiritual point of view.
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people, so happy about? The state is a secular one and is guilty of corrupting many Jews." Another attack which is heard from time to time is that "there is nothing to be happy about on Independence Day, for it is like a family into whom a deformed child was born. Can the family actually be joyful about such an occurrence? The Jewish people have always longed for complete and true redemption, yet a state has been established whose leaders are estranged from Torah and Mitzvoth. From a religious point of view the entire state infrastructure is crooked. The emergence of the State of Israel can be likened to the birth of a deformed child, full of defects - is it possible to be happy about such a thing?".

My own opinion, though, is that such a analogy is inaccurate. The comparison itself is a misleading one and represents a crooked portrayal of our situation. If one wishes to present an analogy, the following one would be more accurate: A family anxiously awaited the birth of a child for a long time. Yet a short time before the child was about to be born the family was overtaken by severe sicknesses and hardships. Despite these difficulties, they were blessed with a healthy child. Is it not fitting, then, that they celebrate the event? Should their joy at the birth of this child be diminished by their other misfortunes? To the contrary, they ought to be comforted by the fact that the child was born healthy, happy, and energetic. It is not the state that is sick but the nation. The State of Israel is not responsible for the spiritual crisis of the Jews. This crisis existed before the arrival of the state, and were it not for the establishment of the state who knows what would have happened to the Jewish people from a spiritual point of view. Just take a look at what is happening to the Jews of the Diaspora today. The rate of assimilation there is frightening. Were it not for the establishment of the State of Israel which has given dignity to Jews everywhere in the world, the situation would be much worse. The State of Israel halted assimilation very significantly.

We received the state while in the midst of a crisis, and because of out lowly condition, we have not derived from the state all of the spiritual strength that we might have were our spiritual condition better. Were this the case our people would rise to a new spiritual height by virtue of the state.
Yet even in her present condition, the State of Israel managed to save a half of a million Jews from Russia who were otherwise destined for spiritual destruction. She has become the spiritual center of the Jewish people in the world. Educators are sent from Israel to Jewish communities all over the world in order to strengthen them in their Jewishness. There is certainly much to be happy about. There is also much to pray for. We must be happy about all that is good, and pray concerning those things which still need perfecting.
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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