Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Israel Independence Day/ Yom Ha'Atzmaut

Beit El´s Rabbi: Independence Day - A Day for Expressing Joy
18:15 May 02, '06 / 4 Iyar 5766
by Hillel Fendel

Rabbi Zalman Melamed - Rabbi of Beit El and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arutz Sheva - delivers a message of happiness for the upcoming Independence Day, despite the State's shortcomings.

Israel's Independence Day is generally celebrated as a joyous religious holiday of thanksgiving in yeshivot and synagogues around the country and the world. Rabbi Melamed [pictured above], one of the leading rabbis in the national-religious public, was asked if our joy should be lessened this year because of the government's destruction of the Jewish communities in Gush Katif. His response was published in the Kumi Ori pamphlet of the Komemiyut organization. Excerpts:

"Our teacher and rabbi, Rav Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook, taught us to distinguish between the government and the State. The establishment of the State opened the gates of the Land of Israel - leading to the Ingathering of the Exiles, the return of the Torah center to the Land, the expansion and stabilization of settlement in the Land of Israel, and continued Aliyah (immigration). All this is because we have a state. There are restrictions here and there, and there are places where we have to struggle, but in general, our bonds with the Land of Israel continue to get stronger. The Land is being built up in the Galilee and the Negev, the Sharon and the Shomron, and elsewhere. All this is a result of our independence.

"We are therefore obligated to thank the Master of the Universe for the good He has bestowed upon us, and for releasing us from the yoke of the nations and enabling us to open the gates of our Land to great Aliyah, and to build ourselves without being influenced by the nations abroad. The percentage of assimilation in the Diaspora is simply catastrophic. This means that our very presence together in the Land of Israel helps strengthen our spiritual status.

"We have criticism of the government's actions, at which we are very angry, and it is hard to simply pass over them. We are also angry, to some extent, at the army and police which carried out this terrible and criminal expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif. But the very existence of the State is a Divine gift on our way to our Redemption, and we have to thank G-d and rejoice in this. "

Asked his opinion about the late Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli's post-Oslo proposal to add a black ribbon to the Israeli flag, Rabbi Melamed said:

"I don't like sadness. I like being happy. I see every difficulty as being a challenge to greater advancement. I understand the feeling, and the fact is that a great rabbi did this during the Oslo period. As for me, I don't have a tendency to express my sadness on this day, but rather the joy and my feeling of thanks to Hashem for His goodness. We have enough sorrow, maybe too much. We have to see the good and the positive, and to view hardships as challenges that will bring only good.

"There is no doubt that even the Gush Katif crisis will strengthen us and our hold on the Land of Israel. We don't see this now, but the good will most certainly come. I like Rabbi Akiva's viewpoint, who smiled when he saw the Roman destruction of Jerusalem - for he knew that out of the destruction would sprout Redemption."

Rabbi Melamed said he understands the negative feelings that come to the fore on this day, but "we don't mourn for the Temple during the Passover seder, and we don't celebrate the Exodus from Egypt on the fast of Tisha B'Av. There is a time for everything, and today is a time for celebration and thanks."

Israelis, Jews and Christian-Zionists worldwide ought to give thanks to God for fulfilling His promises to restore Judah first to our ancient Jewish homeland, the Promised Land of Israel, to be followed in God's good time by the "Lost Ten Tribes."

May all love Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, so much that other than mere lip service, may the same Israelis, Jews and Christian-Zionists offer their lives as living sacrifices of praise, by confessing and forsaking those personal and national sins that we are warned will lead to foreign occupation of the Holy Land again that Israel may remain free to change, to live and prosper and to fulfill its Manifest Destiny to become a "light to all nations," so help us God.

May Israelis celebrate and contemplate.

Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall offers the GOOD NEWS that Israel doesn't have to get stomped by the EU jackboot if we have a change of heart and direction. May we celebrate this fact and express our independence from the ways of this world, Egypt, to be free to serve the God of Israel and uphold His constitution: the holy Bible.

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