Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hallel on Yom Ha-Atzma'ut

R. David Shabtai was kind enough to send me this summary of rationales and views on the recitation of Hallel on Yom Ha-Atzma'ut.

Hallel on Yom ha-Atzma'ut
Summary of Rationales

  • Against reciting Hallel
    • Ideological Objections
      • The establishment of the State of Israel is viewed negatively; there is no value, religious or otherwise in a State without the Messiah.
      • There is no significant religious value in a State that is not run according to Jewish Law.
      • While significant in may ways, the State of Israel is not inherently religiously or estachatologically important.
    • Technical Objections
      • The war has not ended; people are still suffering and dying.
      • Even if the establishment of the State is considered the start of the redemptive process, Hallel should be reserved for the ultimate redemption.
      • It is inappropriate to add any festivals to the calendar to mark events in Jewish history (one may [perhaps should] intend that the Hallel on 1 Iyyar incorporate the miracles surrounding the establishment of the State).

  • In favor of reciting Hallel:
    • Half
      • The introduction of Hallel into the services should follow the model of Rosh Hodesh.
      • While it is appropriate to say Hallel, the Talmud (Shabbat 118b) warns against reciting Hallel “each day.” This warning only applies to the complete Hallel.
    • Full Hallel with a blessing:
      • The day is established as a real holiday.
      • A blessing is appropriate for the initiation of the redemptive process.
      • The miraculous nature of the founding of the State demands a blessing.
      • The miracles occurred for all of kelal Yisrael, halakhically defined.
      • Should depend on the community's practice with regard to reciting half Hallel on Rosh Hodesh.
    • Full Hallel without a blessing:
      • In theory it would be appropriate, but practically unwise and should not be done
        • The Chief Rabbinate ruled to recite Hallel without a blessing.
        • Out of respect for the “Hareidi” rabbis who opposed saying anything at all (as a compromise).
        • Not to promulgate unnecessary dispute.
      • Inherently inappropriate to recite a blessing:
        • Safek berakhah le-battalah.
        • The miracles did not occur to all of kelal Yisrael.
        • The joy of the establishment of the State was mixed with tragedy.
        • The lack of Jewish character of the current State and lack of Jewish awareness by a majority of its inhabitants militate against a complete expression of joy.
        • A congregation should not recite a blessing, but individuals who choose, may do so.
        • The enemies of the State continue in their belligerency; the wars have not effectively ended.

    • When to be said
      • At night
        • Since the vote in the United Nations was at midnight, it is appropriate to recite Hallel (without a blessing) in the evening as well.
      • After shemoneh esrei
        • Hallel should be recited at the same point in the service that it is recited on other festivals
      • After the conclusion of services
        • Al pi ha-sod” it is preferable not to introduce any breaks into the standard order of prayer services that were not instituted by the Sages to be done on those specific days.
        • Even from a more traditional perspective, it is still inappropriate to change the order of the prayer service.
        • The redemption is, as yet, incomplete and therefore Hallel should be delayed until the conclusion of services.
        • After kaddish titkabal one may recite Hallel since the main section of the services has ended and there is some hesitation to introduce it into the normal order.

Name No Full Half Blessing When
R. Yoel Teitelbaum[1] X        
R. Zvi Pesah Frank[2] X        
R. Yosef Shelomoh Kahaneman X        
R. Eliezer Waldenburg[3] X        
R. Shelomoh Goren   X   Yes  
R. Meshullam Roth[4]   X   Yes  
R. Shelomoh Yosef Zevin   X   Yes  
R. Yehudah Gershuni   X   Yes  
R. Hayyim David ha-Levi   X   Yes  
R. Natan Zvi Friedman[5]   X   Yes  
R. David Hayyim Sheloush[6]     X Depends ...  
R. David ha-Kohen[7]   X   No  
R. Isser Yehudah Unterman[8]   X   No, unless that is your custom  
R. Yitzhak Nissim[9]   X   No, unless that is your custom  
R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik[10]   X   No  
R. Aharon Lichtenstein   X   No  
R. Ovadiah Hedayah[11]   X   No After services
R. Ovadiah Yosef[12]   X   No After services
R. David Lifshitz[13]   X   No  
R. Ahron Soloveitchik[14]   X   No  
R. Avraham Shapira[15]   X   No, unless that is your custom  
R. Shalom Yitzhak ha-Levi   X   No  
R. Ben Ziyyon Hai Uziel[16]   X   No  
R. Y. Berman[17]   X   No  
R. Elazar Man Shach[18]   X   No  
R. Shaul Yisraeli[19]   X   No  
R. Ushpizai[20]   X   No  
R. Shalom Mesas[21]   X   No  
R. Y. Harlop[22]   X   No Night
R. Mordekhai Eliyahu[23]     X No Before kaddish titkabal
R. Menashe Klein

R. Shemu'el Wozner

R. Yosef Shalom Elyashiv

R. Shelomoh Zalman Auerbach

R. Yitzchak Hutner

R. Moshe Feinstein
        Unable to determine their positions – it seems logical
to assume that they oppose the recitation of Hallel.
R. Hershel Schachter   X   No Preferably after services
R. Moshe Zvi Neriyah[24]     X No  
R. Yitzhak Weisz[25] X        
R. Ya'akov Kaminetsky[26] X        
R. Menachem Mendel Schneerson[27] X        
[1] Va-Yo'el Moshe.

[2] Cited in Shu”t Yabi'a Omer OH 6:41.

[3] Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer 10:10.

[4] Shu”t Kol Mevaser 21.

[5] Netzer Mata'ai 36.

[6] Shu”t Hemdah Genuzah 36.

[7] note 33.

[8] Ibid.

[9] R. Shelomo Aviner, Be-Ahavah u-ve-Emunah (Beit El, Israel: Sifriyat Hannah, 2000), 312.

[10] Recorded by R. Shalom Carmy;

[11] Shu”t Yaskil Avdi OH 6:10:7.

[12] Shu”t Yabi'a Omer OH 6:41.



[15] R. Shemuel Katz, Ha-Rabbanut ha-Rashit le-Yisrael: Shiv'im Shanah li-Yesodah, Samkhutah, Pe'uloteha, Toldoteha (Jerusalem: Heikhal Shelomoh, 2002), 902.


[17] note 30.

[18] note 53.

[19] R. Shemuel Katz, Ha-Rabbanut ha-Rashit le-Yisrael: Shiv'im Shanah li-Yesodah, Samkhutah, Pe'uloteha, Toldoteha (Jerusalem: Heikhal Shelomoh, 2002), 901.

[20] Ibid., 902.

[21] Shu”t Shemesh u-Magen OH (3:63, 66).

[22] note 48.


[24] Quoted in Shu”t Yabi'a Omer OH 5:35:5.

[25] Shu”t Minhat Yitzhak 10:10.

[26] Shu”t Minhat Yitzhak 10:10:end.

[27] Iggerot Kodesh 25, 257. Also see Sihot Kodesh 5727, vol. 2, 313 regarding Yom Yerushalayim, quoted in R. Yaakov ha-Levi Horowitz, “Al 'Yom Yerushalayim:” 28 Iyyar ke-Yom Hag – ha-Omnam?,” Pardes Habad 11 (5763): 166.