Friday, May 16, 2008

Glass Half Empty Holidays

On Yom Ha‘atzma’ut I had a short discussion with some friends about the relative weight of Israeli Independence Day compared to earlier nationalistic Jewish holidays like Hhanuka. I claimed that Yom Ha‘atzma’ut has greater religious weight than Hhanuka because we know that Hhanuka ended up failing about a hundred years later, when the Second Jewish Commonwealth came under Roman over-rule, and then ended up being destroyed. The Third Jewish Commonwealth, on the other hand, hasn't failed yet.



Anonymous shlomo said...

Hanukah was more complete, since it involved a resumption of Temple service. Yom Haatzmaut... not yet.

5/17/2008 6:44 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

very good opposite point, shlomo

5/18/2008 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Third Commonwealth hasn’t failed, but it hasn’t been a total success: there is still a large diaspora, and Israel is still not at peace with all its neighbours, nor is it in its biblical/historical boundaries. This is aside from the various other social and economic problems in the Jewish community in general and in Israel in particular.

Chanukah was very carefully (and, it turned out, wisely) based on the one-off miraculous religious event, not the political and military success that enabled that miracle to take place. Had the emphasis been on the revolt, I doubt we would still be celebrating it so many centuries after the corruption of the Hasmonean monarchy and the fall of the Second Commonwealth.

5/18/2008 7:19 AM  
Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...

When I went to Yom haatzma'ut services this year I was amazed that there was a mussaf service and a haftarah reading. Hannukah doesn't have a mussaf or a haftarah during the week, and purim has no mussaf or haftarah either. I can understand the Hallel, but having a haftarah reading seems like a little much.

5/18/2008 5:03 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

musaf?! never heard of a yom ha‘atzma’ut musaf before. i have seen haftaras, but they're only pseudo-haftaras with no berakhot attached, and they're not attached to any preceding torah reading.

5/18/2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...

Maybe I'm making up the mussaf thing. But there were definitely berakhot before and after the haftarah, and there was definitely a torah reading.

5/18/2008 7:22 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

sure it wasn't just the normal Thursday torah reading? :-)

5/18/2008 7:37 PM  
Blogger Garnel Ironheart said...

There are essential similarities and differences between Chanukah and Yom Haatzmaut that bear repeating.

One, Chanukah did restore the Temple service but to be fair, the Temple site itself wasn't occupied by a hostile power than had erected its own house of worship. If the Temple Mount had been empty in 1948, perhaps there would be an altar there today.

Two, both holidays resulted in non-legitimate governments taking over control of the land. In the case of Chanukah, the Kohanim usurped the traditional right of Beis David to the role of ruler. In the current State, well do I have to describe it? But even so, the government of Israel today is far less of a problem as it does not claim to be a monarchy while the Hashmonaim did.

3) Both governments immediately and perpetually relied on outside alliances to maintain their independence.

3) For all its faults, the Israeli government has yet to do any of the atrocities that the Hashmonaim crowd perpetrated.

So if one can celebrate on Chanukah, one certainly can on Yom Ha'atzmaut.

5/20/2008 8:37 AM  
Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...

It definitely wasn't the normal reading, because it would have been the first aliyah of emor, which I leined last year and was going to do again this year (and ended up only having to do it on shabbat [since monday that week was rosh chodesh]) and thus had more time to learn it.

5/21/2008 12:14 AM  
Blogger Lion of Zion said...

nusach kibbutz hadati (as published in their mahzor) is to lein from the torah and naviim with berakhot. the original nusach also included al ha-nisim, although this was later droppped. rav goren opposed all this.

i also remember reading that minhag tzahal (?) is to read haftarah with berakhot if on mon or thurs

5/21/2008 12:58 AM  

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