Halacha for Thursday 4 Iyar 5782 May 5 2022

Israeli Independence Day (“Yom Ha’atzmaut”)

Based on the Words of Maran zt”l on Yom Ha’atzmaut, 5733 (1973)

The prophet Yeshaya states: “I greatly rejoice in Hashem, my whole being exults in my G-d; for He has clothed me in garments of triumph, wrapped me in a robe of victory, like a groom adorned with a turban, like a bride bedecked with her finery.” We must analyze this verse which likens the way the Jewish nation will one day rejoice in Hashem to the way a groom wears fine clothing a bride her jewelry. What does the prophet mean with this comparison?

In general, if one receives a gold watch as a gift from a friend, one is extremely happy as a result of the expensive item he has been given. However, if one, for instance, performs an act of heroism for one’s country and the leader of that country wishes to commend him by gifting him with the same gold watch in an official ceremony before the masses, this individual would be so much more happy about the honor and grandeur afforded to him by king and country such that the joy of receiving the watch would pale in comparison.

Similarly, gentlemen, we have indeed been graced by Hashem to be saved from our enemies three times, first during the War of Independence (1948), next during the Suez Crisis (1956), and most recently during the Six Day War (1967). However, our primary joy is not merely regarding the victory that Hashem handed us over our enemies and did not let us perish, rather, it is because of the tremendous sanctification of Hashem’s name Who raised the banner of the Jewish people among all the nations of the world. Indeed, even great generals and military correspondents stated that the Jewish nation’s victory during the Six Day War was nothing short of miraculous and that “This was only by the hand of G-d.” Indeed, even when we were surrounded by many enemy nations ready to attack and destroy us and were prepared for any surprises, nevertheless, Hashem foiled their plot and within the first three hours of the war, the enemy’s air force was completely devastated.

It will be the same in the future when Hashem brings about the Jewish nation’s Ultimate Redemption, the leaders of all of the nations of the worlds will send gifts to the Jewish people, as the verse states, “The kings of Tarshish and the islands will pay tribute,” and there will be a tremendous physical salvation then, however, our primary joy will be regarding the fact that Hashem wanted us back and that His glory returned to dwell in the Bet Hamikdash, among us, as the verse states, “As a groom rejoices over his bride, so will Hashem rejoice over you.”

This is what the verse means when it states, “I greatly rejoice in Hashem,” meaning that the primary joy will be in Hashem Himself, not because of the great wealth or salvations the Jewish nation experienced. Rather, we will experience a spiritual joy in Hashem Himself. It is for this reason that the prophet Yeshaya compares this joy to that of a bride and groom, “Like a groom adorned with a turban and a bride bedecked with her finery.” Just as a bride and groom are wearing fancy clothing and expensive jewelry and yet their joy is not due to these items, rather, they are overjoyed in one another in the culmination of the happiest day of their lives, their wedding day. They are so thrilled about one another that the joy regarding their clothing and jewelry, which is quite gladdening, pales in comparison.

After these past several decades when Hashem has shown us such great miracles and the Jewish nation has dwelled in the Land of Israel with relative tranquility, such that Yeshivot are thriving and Torah learners are sprawling by the tens of thousands, in their merit, may Hashem fulfill the verse, “May one thousand fall from your side, ten thousand from your right, and they will not come near you.” May we merit experiencing the Ultimate Redemption, Amen!

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