Monday, October 23, 2006


R. Shlomo Aviner, Am Ve-Artzo, vol. 2 pp. 251-252:

QUESTION: In the diaspora there is a custom, in order to show unity with the state of Israel, to sing "Hatikvah" (the Israeli anthem) on Israel Independence Day and Jerusalem Reunification Day, and at weddings and bar mitzvah parties, together with the anthem for that country.

However I remember when I studied in Israel that we never sang "Hatikvah" on Israel Independence Day but, rather, "Shir Ha-Ma'alos" with the tune for "Hatikvah".

Some say that it is a disgrace to the nation of Israel that there is no reference to God in its national anthem even though many other countries praise God, such as Britain's "God Save the Queen".

I heard an opinion to replace the word "chofshi" (free) [towards the end of "Hatikvah"] with the word "kodshi" (holy), thereby hinting to God without separating oneself from the general population, since no one can hear this difference while singing...

ANSWER: It is true that there is no mention of God in "Hatikvah". However, there is nothing against God either and there is national value in it. Therefore, there is certainly no prohibition against singing this anthem. We definitely have more important songs in faith in God and also in nationalism, like "Shir Ha-Ma'alos" and "Shir Ha-Emunah" that Rav Kook wrote. However, if the entire community is singing "Hatikvah" one should not separate from them but should join them, since through this they are demonstrating their connection to the land and state of Israel, which is a big obligation, even though there are better ways of doing it. Therefore, there is no need to change "chofshi" to "kodshi", since being free is also something of value. There is a mitzvah that this land [of Israel] should be under our rule and not that of another nation, as the Ramban wrote, so there is certainly a mitzvah to be free in our land...

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