Tachanun on Yom Ha’atzmaut

I understand but do not accept the view of Hungarian Satmar, Toldos Aron, Shomer Emunim and similar, that the establishment of a State for Jews is the work of Satan and should be rejected. Such a view, in the opinion of many great sages is not justifiable, and its tenuous reliance on the three oaths is seen as an halachic fiction.

I understand, but do not agree with the view of Chabad and some other Chassidim and Misnagdim, that “it is what it is”. They contend that the establishment of the state wasn’t a necessary event in the development of events leading to the Mashiach. However, given that the State is a reality, they will support the people within the State. Chabad, for example, refrain at all costs from saying the State of Israel. Listen carefully. They will always say Eretz Yisroel, following the practice of the last Rebbe, who I believe only referred to it as the “State of Israel” but once.

I understand and accept the position of those who see the State of Israel as being an eschatological reality created by Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and that it will eventually lead to ובא לציון גואל, but who will either

  • not say hallel
  • will say hallel without a bracha
  • will say hallel with a bracha

They do not disagree with the metaphysical importance of the State, but have halachic techno-legal reasons for their particular practice. For example, the Rav didn’t say Hallel and at Kerem B’Yavneh we said Hallel without a Bracha.

I do not understand why people who do not agree that the establishment of a State for Jews is the work of Satan (e.g. Satmar) or who are passively ambivalent about the eschatological significance of a State (e.g. Chabad) not only say Tachanun, but insist on saying Tachanun. It is related that the Chazon Ish, who was saved from the events of the Holocaust by no less than the efforts of Harav Kook ז’ל, insisted on saying Tachanun.

In Melbourne, a number of years ago, when a Bris occurred at the ultra-orthodox Adass Yisrael congregation, Rabbi Beck insisted that Tachanun be said davka because it was Yom Ha’atzmaut and that it would be entirely wrong for someone to come away with the impression that Tachanun might not have been said on Yom Ha’atzmaut.

It is well-known, that Chizkiyahu the great King, in whose generation the Gemora tells us (in Sanhedrin from memory) that Torah study and knowledge was in a high and unprecedented state, failed to materialise the Geula because Chizkiyahu became too haughty and felt that it was unnecessary to utter special praise (Shira) to Hashem and thank him for the miracles that Hashem wrought on Am Yisrael.

Shira, praise and thanksgiving, is the power to see the illumination of the future in the present. It is the power to perceive our existence as a link between the past and the present, and the power to raise everything towards an all-encompassing Geula.

Therefore after crossing the Red Sea, in “Shirat Ha’Yam” – it states: “Az” Yashir. Az– “Then,” past tense, is a reflection on the past, “Yashir” – “will sing praise” in the future tense. There is the joining and encapsulation of the past and the future, thereby giving meaning to the present.

The Torah is also referred to as “shira.” We seek to find Hashem in every nook and cranny and aspect of life—in every corner. This is the approach to Torah that elevates the world. Torah that creates a superficial division between the Yeshivah and the external, real world, is not the ideal.  Yahadus desires to interpret everything, and of course, especially the manifestation of God’s name

It is possible to study Torah as in the days of Chizkiyahu, to the extent that even the children are expert at the laws of tumah and tahara, yet still the Geula is hindered and delayed.

Yeshayahu expected Chizkiyahu to offer praise, and sing shira to elevate the entirety of reality. Chizkiyahu failed and the world was set back in reaching its goal.

One’s individual Torah, despite it’s great value and benefits, is not termed Shira. Only the transcendent Torah that strives to see how everything is bound to Hakadosh Baruch Hu is described as shira.

Those who separate the Torah from the State as if they are two entities are not singing.  This is how Rav Kook explained the criticism of Chizkiyahu. “That in his days briers and thorns covered Eretz Yisra’el,” for Chizkiyahu did not demonstrate how the Torah is also connected to the land.

In justifying Chizkiyahu, some have posited that the miracle of his victory over Sancherev was not as great as the sun standing still (in the days of Yehoshua) and that is why Chizkiyahu didn’t sing Hashem’s praises. Mortals, however, are not qualified to  judge which miracle is greater or more substantial. Judging such things is an expression of haughtiness, and this is what Chazal meant.

Shira dissolves the temporal manifestation of ingratitude, as supplied by the Yetzer Horah.

What is most puzzling to me is that even those who don’t recognise the need to especially sing to Hashem still insist on making this a day like any other and continue saying Tachanun. Yet, on their own days of celebration (e.g. a special day in a Chassidic court), they suspend the saying of Tachanun.


Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

29 thoughts on “Tachanun on Yom Ha’atzmaut”

  1. Well said.

    At the end of the day, irrespective as to one’s view on Itchalta D’Geula, the question is a simple one. Do we owe the Ribbono Shelo Olam a Hakarat Hatov or not?

    Those of us who do nothing to express that Hakarat Hatov are presumably Kfuyey Tova, and should prepare ourselves for eventual Din V’cheshbon on that score.

    One wonders (rhetorically!) whether Moshe Rabbeinu, so tragically deprived of the opportunity to enter Eretz Hakedosha, would have viewed the opportunity granted to our generation as inconsequential and not worthy of thanks. Would he have viewed Klal Yisrel’s return to Eretz Yisrael after 2000 years in exile as a non-event? Would he have perceived the opportunity to daven at the Kotel as ho-hum?

    Which would he have said – Tachanun or Shira?!


    1. The only time in history where jews could not daven at the Kosel was after the Zionist made a state in 1948 through the 1967 war. But except for that period Jews always were allowed to and did daven at the kosel.


  2. There is an apocryphal story that the Ponovezher Rov was once asked what his practice was during davening on Yom Haatzmaut. He reportedly said: “I follow what Ben Gurion did – I don’t say Hallel and I don’t say Tachanun!”

    (Incidentally, Rav Kahaneman also insisted that the Israeli flag be flown atop the Ponevezher Yeshivah on Yom Haatzmaut – a practice that is still carried out today.)

    Some tziyonim say (presumably in jest) that nowadays one SHOULD say Tachanun, but ALSO Hallel – Hallel for the State and Tachanun for the Government!


    1. Indeed. R’ Kahaneman was a special man. All this stopped when R’ Schach took over. During R’ Kahaneman’s days, Rav Schach said Tachanun even in those days (when saying Hallel was even widespread amongst Charedim). Ironically, R’ Schach’s son is a Tziyoni as I recall.


  3. I suggest you watch R’ Amnon Yitzchak on YouTube regarding hallel on Yom ha-atzmaut.
    BTW maybe these people are so grateful, that they spend an extra 20 seconds a day in the amidah and birkat hamazon thanking hashem for the ability to live in zion, why do they have to do it your way, are they not asked to follow their rabbis?


      1. There is no inyan to remember Chanukah on a daily basis.There is a Brochoh of u’vnai yerusholayim and et tzemach Dovid as well as well as other hoda’ah given to hashem, and whilst these people that you bash, generally spend more time on thanking hashem on a daily basis, than the other group you are referring to,I can conclude your claims are from hatred, and you can care less about hashems sake.
        Why is it, they don’t spend a day for every national miracle that happened to the Jews. We are not celebrating the current state, as it is not in a very good shape, we are supposedly saying hallel for 1948 and 67.


        1. There is an inyan to remember Chasdei Hashem every day. Why not think of Chanuka during that and be done with it.
          You confuse thanking Hashem for providing a safe haven for homeless Jews to Messianic prayers in Shmoneh Esreh.
          You seem to know who spends more time on what. I don’t know that. I have no idea how you do.
          I don’t see any “bash” in my post. I ask questions.
          Please don’t call the establishment of a State “as every national miracle. Therein lies the implicit lack of thanks, let alone a sense of history.
          The State isn’t in good shape? When have we had more Torah?


          1. 1. There is no safe haven in the world, and what happened in France recently happens in Israel regularly.
            2. Go daven in several shuls, and tell me who spends more time thanking hashem.
            3. You may not bag directly, but your harsh questioning leaves them little space to follow their rabbis, the chazon ish and the like. Can they not keep “Kol asher yoruchah”
            4. you are correct, it is not a national miracle, it is a catastrophe.
            5.there is no direct connection between masses learning Torah and the state.Are you living in some cocoon, what was all this frum bashing going on all over the news recently.It is easier to learn Torah full time in tens of other countries nowadays than it is in Israel.
            Enough said


  4. You really should not have posted on this subject. All those great sages you disagree with will be devastated that you disagree with them.


          1. He said “they should prepare themselves for din vechashbon”

            Thats not a question. Many gedolim did/do not say any and tefilos for the birth of the state of Israel(and say tachnun even at a bris) , so he is judging Gedoleh Yisroel. Hence my previous comment stands.


  5. You answered your own question Isaac. For many chassidim (eg Chabad) Yom Haatzmaut *is* a day like any other because it did not effect their connection to Eretz Israel. So from their perspective the day has no relevance to them as a group and they are therefore not obligated to celebrate it by not saying Tachanun. When they do celebrate a special day they do so because they consider it to have altered their history as a group. It’s a matter of historical perspective.

    Nice blog.


  6. I suppose they make it like any other day, because those who proclaimed it as “indepdendence day” were apikorsim who did all they could to root out yiddishkeit. Hence they don’t celebrate a day that was instituted by such.


      1. Although the Chazon Ish was helped by R Kook to emigrate to Eretz yisrael, to say that “he was saved (due to him) from the events of the holocaust” is a bit of an exageration. He came to EY already in 1933.


        1. He wasn’t saved during the holocaust but without the efforts of Rav Kook he may well have experienced the horrors. Do not take lightly the efforts of Rav Kook to extricate Gedolim from Europe prior to the Holocaust. I’m sure the Chazon Ish and his family didn’t and don’t


          1. Of course I didn’t, but the way you wrote it it sounds like it was during the war or just before, and this was what saved him. It was quite a few years before.


            1. Anyone saved thereby were saved. They couldn’t get out without this style and level of help. He also brought out R’ Elyashiv’s family.


    1. So they decided not to thank Hashem because the others were having concerts and barbecues … Makes no sense and many many either said hallel or didn’t say tachnun during the 50’s … So the real answer is because they loathe Jews who aren’t yet frum, they will ignore what HASHEM has given them. Sick!


      1. You asked a question about Chazon Ish and the like , so you obviously wanted an answer. I am sure he liked all types of Yiden and knew when to thank Hashem, although he may not have had as much Ahavas Yisroel as you, and not the high level of hakoras hatov that you have.


          1. I don’t get you. I was only posting the truth, facts. This is what they held. Why start a subject asking questions when you only want to hear what you agree with.

            On another subject re charedim you complained why charedim aren’t responding and giving their views! You’ll just call them or their views sick! Who needs it.

            Even someone like Rav Moshe Feinstein, who was definitely Gadol Hador in Middos Tovos, when someone asked him a (stupid) shaaloh in reference to the medinah, in his teshuvah, he(RM) went all out calling the Israeli government, minim, apikorsim, reshaim etc. And this was at least 30 years after the founding.

            You should put a notice on your blog “only respond if you agree or your Rabbonim agree with my views, otherwise you get bashed…”


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