Chag Sameach – Happy Holidays!

6 May

Last week, we wrote about Holocaust Remembrance day in Israel. No-one in Israel is untouched by the holocaust, but different people “commemorate” the day in various ways. For example, not everyone stands during the siren that sounds off throughout Israel. In fact, many of those who do not stand are among those whose families suffered the most in the Holocaust. The same is true of today’s celebrations, of Yom Hazikaron (“Memorial day” for fallen soldiers) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli “Independence day”). There are varying degrees of celebration of these days. One person might add Hallel to his prayers, while another may go out to the park and make a BBQ. Yet a third will find it meaningful to read off a list of fallen comrades and light candles for them. What is clear though, is that we Jews need a safe place to live on this planet. Our attachment to Israel goes back centuries and millennia, but the absolute necessity of having a place to be safe in this cruel world goes back only a few decades. No matter how we celebrate, we all need to be glad that we have our own nation and a powerful military to defend us. Together with our fulfillment of Torah and mitzvoth, that’s about the best we can hope for until meshiach arrives!

            It’s Israeli Independence Day today, but if you’re feeling studious, go to and have a look at the weekly Torah portion from the eyes of a sixteenth century sage and master of the entire Torah. And if that little taste of mind-blowing spirituality fails to whet your appetite, go to and check out the array of spiritual books on Jewish meditation and prayer that are available to you. Finally, if you just want to tune into the events and celebrations that are happening here in Jerusalem, go to something for everyone! Chag sameach!

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