Halacha for Tuesday 6 Iyar 5777 May 2 2017

Giving Thanks to Hashem

Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. We have already discussed the proper outlook regarding the establishment of the modern State of Israel in the Land of Israel according to the teachings of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l several times.

We find something quite interesting in the work of Rabbeinu Yosef Haim zt”l in his Sefer Benayahu (on Rosh Hashanah 8b) where he writes something closely resembling a prophecy, that before the Ultimate Redemption, many Jews will immigrate to the Land of Israel, a government will be established there, and they will be held in high esteem, however, they shall not be fully redeemed until the arrival of Mashiach. These words were written by Rabbeinu Yosef Haim at a time when no one ever believed that there would be such a gathering of the exiles in the Land of Israel without the aid of our righteous Mashiach.

Certainly, the kindness Hashem has granted us through this tremendous influx of Jews returning to the Land of Israel in the past few generations is not in vain as Maran zt”l said in a speech on Yom Ha’atzmaut of 5729 (1969) that Hashem has helped us vanquish our enemies in the War of Independence (1948), Operation Kadesh (Sinai War, 1956), the Six Day War (1967) among others and Hashem does not perform miracles for no reason. Rather, the reason is because wished to bring about both a spiritual and physical salvation upon the Jewish nation in the Land of Israel in order to hasten the Ultimate Redemption, may we merit seeing it speedily and in our days.

Our Sages teach us that if one is a recipient of a miracle and one recites a song of thanksgiving to Hashem, Hashem shall perform another miracle for him. Maran zt”l explains that this is what is meant by the verse, “Behold, G-d is my salvation, I shall trust and not fear, for Hashem is my strength and song and He has become my salvation” that Hashem has brought about a salvation for me and therefore, I will not fear in the future, for since I have sung to him, he shall perform many more miracles for me.

Our Sages took issue took issue with King Chizkiyahu for not having recited song and praise to Hashem when Hashem performed a tremendous miracle by killing the entire mammoth army of Sanheriv although Chizkiyahu was a righteous king who was worthy of being the Mashiach and increased Torah study tremendously throughout the Jewish nation. In spite of all of King Chizkiyahu’s Torah, the Heavenly attribute of judgment prosecuted him for not uttering songs of praise to Hashem.

We must therefore offer much song, praise, and thanksgiving to Hashem for all of the miracles he performed for us and for saving us from all our enemies and not to mistakenly think that “My strength and the might of my hand has caused me this victory” and only trust in a human army as though we were saved through our mortal might. On the contrary, offering thanks to Hashem will give us strength to triumph over our enemies in the future as well. As a result, we shall merit experiencing Hashem’s miracles in the future as well, as we have written above that one who praises Hashem for a miracle shall merit more miracle. Similarly, King David realized that when Hashem performed a miracle for him and allowed him to defeat the lion and bear that he was destined to save the entire Jewish nation, for Hashem would not perform such a wondrous miracle for naught and he understood that this meant that Hashem would perform even greater miracles for the Jewish nation through him.

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