Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for overt and blatant religious-Zionism. Proceed at your own risk.
My Dear Friend,
You don’t know me, and I doubt you’ve heard of my blog. Indeed, chances are – you’ll never see this letter.
Which is why you’re probably wondering why I addressed you as my friend… and why I’m writing to you in the first place.
To answer the former question, I not only call you “friend” in the general, “kol Yisrael areivim zeh la’zeh” (literally, “all of Israel are guarantors for each other” – BT Shavuot 39a) sense, but also because you seem like a very nice person, and I’m sure we’d hit it off if we ever met in real life.
As to why I’m writing to you, well, I read something you wrote, and I must respond.
You were discussing Yom HaAtzma’ut, and you referred to it as “a controversial and horribly divisive day” [sic]. Furthermore, you declared, every year, you “dread” [sic] the holiday and can’t wait for it to be over.
I was shocked!
How could a Torah-committed, mitzvah-observant person - such as yourself - not recognize the Yad Hashem (Hand of Hashem) behind the State of Israel’s establishment??
How could you possibly allude to a commemoration of that clearly miraculous and Divinely-ordained event as “controversial”??
Is your objection that Yom HaAtzma’ut falls during Sefirah?? Don’t you realize that it was HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s Will that the State of Israel come into existence precisely during this time of year??
And then my initial shock turned to sorrow.
It saddened me to think that here you are, a self-professed Heaven-fearing individual, and yet, you lack any feeling of hakarat hatov (gratitude) for the wonderful gift we received 63 years ago!
As a result of this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind gift, any Jew who so desires can now make his/her home in our beautiful, blessed Land.
For 2000 years, our grandparents and great-grandparents could only dream of observing the mitzvot hat’luyot baAretz (the Land of Israel-dependent mitzvot) as well as the great mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael (settling/dwelling in the Land of Israel).
But because of this gift, we’re now privileged to have their dreams as our reality.
And, finally, my sadness changed to pity.
Yes, that’s right.
I feel sorry for you, because you have absolutely no idea what you’re missing.
Because as any Israeli could tell you, Yom HaAtzma'ut isn’t “divisive” [sic] at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.
For nothing - and I mean nothing - says achdut (unity) like Yom HaAtzma’ut.
You see, the vast majority of the country’s citizens [with the possible exception of a few, completely irrelevant, fringe elements] spend the day celebrating and thanking Hashem and His messengers for His incredible chessed (loving-kindness)… each in their own unique way.
In the evening, we all attend various Yom HaAtzma’ut celebrations – either as active participants or simply to catch a glimpse of the fireworks - and/or watch the national ceremony on TV.
During the day, we cheer on our favorite Chidon HaTanach (National Bible Contest) contestants. (Israel is such a small country - that no one is more than one or two degrees of separation away from at least one of the competitors!)
And, of course, we flock to the country’s lovely parks and enjoy what essentially serves as one, giant, national BBQ.
Unlike on other festivals - when we generally encounter only our immediate families and members of our own communities - on Yom HaAtzma’ut, we come in contact with our fellow Israelis, from every walk of life.
And when we do, we greet each other with hearty cries of “chag samei’ach!”
I eagerly look forward to the day when you can join us here in Eretz Yisrael and experience Yom HaAtzma’ut for yourself!
!חודש טוב, שבת שלום ויום העצמאות שמח