Monday, May 09, 2011


Heavenly Hints…Avoided

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

There are a variety of customs regarding the saying of Tehillim (Psalms) as part of daily tefilah (prayer).  Chabad, for example, follows a schedule that divides the full book of psalms per day of the monthLife in Israel reports that Satmar’s custom is to say 5 psalms per day (after the end of morning davening).

Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel Independence Day.  The formal observance has been delayed until tomorrow this year, a concession of the State of Israel for Shabbos, so that preparations and observances won’t end up violating Shabbat (as the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut is Yom HaZikaron, Israel Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terrorism victims).  But regardless, today, the 5th of Iyar, is Israel Independence Day.

The National Religious Jewish community in Israel feel that the creation of State of Israel is a formal step of the geulah, and therefore the State is imbued with kedushah (holiness).  Therefore on Israel Independence Day, they add Hallel – the great prayers of praise reserved for Yom Tovim (Jewish holy days) – to their morning prayers on this day.

Hallel, for those who don’t know, is a series of psalms with some petitional additions.

Most of the charedi (ultra-orthodox) community do not add Hallel to their morning prayers on any State of Israel secular holiday, nor consider the State to be imbued with holiness.  Specific segments of the charedi community go even further and partially disassociate themselves with all institutions of the State, considering the creation of a State prior to the arrival of Moshiach to be religiously inappropriate, Satmar being among the strongest in this category.

Life in Israel reported that it “just so happens” on the 5th of Iyar, Israel Independence Day, the schedule of psalms according to Satmar’s daily prayer schedule and custom is…the 5 chapters that make up Hallel.  Meaning this year, according to Satmar’s schedule and long historical custom, they should be saying (most of) Hallel on the day that happens to be Israel Independence Day.

They could ignore this saying ‘why should we deviate from our custom just because of secular events’, or they could look at it and laugh (see, Shamayim - Heaven has a sense of humor).  They could consider it a moment of achdus and say ‘with brotherly love and under the direction of Heaven who aligned these events – today we’ll be saying the same psalms as our brothers and sisters who inhabit the Land of Israel’ and with ahavas chiman (baseless love) help hasten the geulah (the complete redemption).

And what did they do?  Life in Israel reportsTo avoid any seeming sign of support for Israel as a Jewish State and so that nobody should think Satmar is in any way saying hallel, or parts of it, in honor of the State, the rebbe decreed that on Sunday, yesterday, they would say 8 chapters, from 111 until 118, that includes all the chapters that have the hallel verses in them, and on Monday, 5 Iyar, they would only say 119 and 120.”

OPPORTUNITY LOST.  That thudding sound you hear is my head banging against the wall.


  1. Who KNOWS until the end who is right ?? Does anyone honestly know ? the state is a huge question mark from its inception till now with great positives and great negatives . AD MATAI !

  2. While there are many things I like about Satmar, this particular example is yet another arrow pointing to how reactive Judaism has become, even in the most Torah-oriented circles.

    Another example is forbidding very long skirts once they suddenly came into general fashion again. Or dropping any discussion of "tikkun olam" once the Conservative movement started using that term for its own (albeit well-intentioned) agendas.

    While imitating the non-Jewish world shows an obviously weak will in allowing oneself to be controlled by non-Jewish ways, doing something just because it's the opposite, to automatically decide with knee-jerk precision that the ONLY course of action is the opposite of whatever the non-Jewish world happens to be doing -- that is also allowing the non-Jewish world to control Jewish actions and responses. Whether we copy the non-Torah world or blindly run to do the opposite, many of us are allowing the non-Jewish world to control us. Yet who is supposed to be the "light" for the nations? Who is supposed to show Hashem's morality?

    Since its inception, Judaism has been pro-active. Chassidus was one of the last examples of Judaism showing its real stuff -- pro-action -- without obsessively measuring itself against a world without Torah.

    Most of us need to stop looking around at what the world is doing, deciding to either emulate it or automatically rebel against it; we need to simply focus inward on our own mesorah and then forge onward.

    Thank you, Reb Akiva.

  3. Wow, Akiva, I am shocked that they decided the way they do. Everything to prevent the geulah we have mastered.


    "We never realized that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is such a kanai (fanatic), even more of a kanai than the Satmar Rebbe!" exclaimed the Shulsinger brothers to Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawsky upon returning from a private audience with the Rebbe.
    by Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawsky

    In those years it was still relatively easy to get an appointment with the Rebbe, especially for those who had enjoyed such a close relationship. Within a short time they had an appointment with the Rebbe. This is what the Shulsinger brothers told me that day:

    First of all, how could Yom Ha'Atzmaut be erased from the calendar? The day the state was established was in the way of "ischalta d'Geula" (the beginning of Geula)! How could it be ignored?!

    The Rebbe responded sharply: "Ischalta dGeula"? Chas V'Shalom! It was not the ischalta d'Geula!

    The brothers began arguing: Nu, fine, it wasn't the beginning of the complete Geula, but it was still a day of salvation and redemption for the Jewish people! Why should it be erased?

    Again, the Rebbe responded sharply: No! It was not a day of salvation and redemption for the Jewish people! (there were some other phrases which I don't remember now).

    The brothers remained dissatisfied and even raised their voices (as they themselves told me), and tried to plead with the Rebbe that even if it wasn't an actual yeshua for the Jewish people, it was at least a festive day, and it represented salvation for many Jews.

    I think the Rebbe also raised his voice - the talmidim in the yeshiva who sat in the small zal, not far from the yechidus room, said that they could hear the voices of the brothers the entire time, but then suddenly they could hear the Rebbe speaking loudly. This is what the Rebbe said which the brothers repeated to me:

    "Not only is it not the ischalta d'Geula; not only is it not a Yom Tov and a day of salvation for the Jewish people etc. - but this delayed the Geula for such and such a number of tens of years!"

    One of the brothers remembered a certain number the Rebbe had said, though he said it with reservations, "I think .." while the other brother remembered a different number, and was also doubtful. It's interesting that they didn't remember the number precisely (maybe due to their emotional state at the time).

    (and for me too, so many years later, it's hard to pinpoint what they said, but I think that the number was forty-five years).

    That was when the brothers finally understood how the Rebbe regarded Zionism, with a "fanaticism that was greater than Satmar's" - while at the same time, how precious every Jew is to the Rebbe, even those who still believe in Zionism.

  5. Their is more about the National Religious aspect. It is a religious holiday, not just a secular civil holiday. People wear their Shabbat clothes, and refrain doing unnecessary malacha. Many say full hallel at night as well as in the morning, with a bracha.
    The following is all referenced to Hazal (translated from Hebrew)

    1 The day Jewish government was restored in E"Y.
    2 Jewish government is an important part for allowing Jews to come live in E"Y
    3 Jewish government is supposed to make us happy like Hanukah celebrates.
    4 Signifies the partial end of galut
    5 Reishit tzmichat - the beginning of redemption, not redemption itself (often misquoted viciously in derision)
    6 IDF began to kick butt. The individual celebrates rising up, the more so when the public is involved.
    7 Strength shown by public leaders to reach a decision and act
    8 We now have an army showing that Jewish blood is no longer cheap
    9 State of Israel promotes the ingathering of the exiles - one of the signs of redemption
    10 State of Israel brings all jews toghether, no longer separate ethnic groups.
    11 State of Israel has allowed for Torah to rise like no other generation in the past, and within the state budget.
    12 Hakarat hatov of all the above. Ungatefullness to Hashem of the above, is as if believing that everything happened by chance, on its own.
    13 The establishment of the state brought us courage and happiness and the emergence of Jewish life and ingathering.


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