“Observance of Yom Ha’Atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim”
by Rabbi David Brofsky (Senior Faculty Member of Midreshet Lindenbaum) 04/24/2014
In 1949, a year after the establishment of the state of Israel, the Israeli government declared that the fifth of Iyar should be observed as a national holiday.
In response, the chief rabbis of Israel, R. Yitzchak HaLevi Herzog and R. Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uziel, recommended to the Chief Rabbinate Council that the fifth of Iyar be observed as a “day [commemorating] the joy of the beginning of the redemption of the Jewish people.”
This establishment of a new “festival” posed a great halachic dilemma. Some suggested that instituting a festive day for the entire Jewish people to celebrate, even those who did not personally experience the miraculous events, constitutes a violation of the biblical injunction of bal tosef, derived from the verse, “You shall not add [to the mitzvot]” (Deut. 4:2) … Click to read more