Yom Ha’atzmaut Links and Some Thoughts on Jewish Unity

Tonight begins Yom Ha’atzmaut and whether you say Hallel or not, brocha or no brocha, after Shomeneh Esrai or after Aleinu, we can all be thankful that there are so many Jews living and learning today in Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Adlerstein had a good post titled Something For Everyone over at Cross-Currents.

Here is a link to some shiurim about the day from YU Torah.

Here’s the link to the OU Web page about the day.

And here are some thoughts on Jewish Unity from Rav Mordechai Scher of Kol BeRamah, a traditional Orthodox synagogue in Santa Fe..

About twenty years ago, while learning at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav, my chevruta and I decided to learn the halachot relating to safrut. We heard that the best shiur available was from Rav Mordechai Friedlander (a Squarer Hasid, if I recall correctly), who taught for Machon Mishmeret Stam. We started attending the shiur, the only religious Zionists (or obvious ones, anyway) in the group.

Rav Friedlander invited me to learn with him during bein hazmanim. I eagerly accepted. During Hol Hamoed Pesah, I went to the beit midrash in Geulah where we planned to learn. A young fellow approached me, pointed to the kipah s’rugah (crocheted kipah) on my head, and told me I was in the wrong place. I responded that I had come to learn Torah in the beit midrash. He insistently repeated that I didn’t belong there. Rav Friedlander entered, and put the young man in his place.

During the period that I learned by him (about a year and a half), he confided to me that until Eitan and I came to his shiur, he didn’t know quite what to think about fellows in Hesder yeshivot or Mercaz Harav. He didn’t really know that our respect for Torah, our skills in learning, our diligence were no different from what he knew in his own community. There were simply some differences in perspectives or p’sak; not in the loyalty to Hashem’s Torah. He did insist that we not talk about the same issues that Steve suggests avoiding, “Rav Mordechai, some topics we’re better off not discussing.”

In Rav Tzvi Yehudah’s beit midrash, a disparaging word was never uttered about a talmid hacham. His opinions could be attacked in the manner that a dispute can occur for the sake of Heaven; but no genuine opinion in learning was ignored by way of de-legitimizing it. It was an eye-opener for me to discover that approach was not universal in yeshivot.

Hashem should help us to unite in His Torah. Without that, we cannot unite the rest of Am Yisrael.

Originally published 5/3/2006