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Apr 26, 2012

Rav Amar And Rav Sharki get Into It At Kotel About Hallel

There have been lots of interesting events, incidents and news stories regarding Yom HaAtzmaut, but the one I find most interesting is the one regarding the tefilla led by Rav Sharki at the Kotel last night.

Rav Uri Sharki , head of the beis medrash of Machon Meir, started, a few years ago, leading a festive holiday tefilla at the kotel. It started off small, and has grown every year, with now thousands of people participating. Rav Sharki is of the opinion that halachically it is necessary to say hallel, with a bracha, on the night of Yom HaAtzmaut as well, as an expression of faith in the redemption.

At the tefilla last night led by Rav Sharki, according to this report on Srugim, the chief rabbi, Rav Shlomo Amar, decided to participate. Just before the chazzan was about to begin the hallel, Rav Amar told rav Sharki that he is prohibiting him from making a bracha on the hallel.

Rav Amar explained that Ravv Sharki's opinion, that had been published and publicized in a journal and detailed as well in a pamphlet of tefillot for Yom HaAtzmaut,, is incorrect. Rav Amar explained one cannot make a bracha on the hallel, and if he does it is a bracha l'vatala.

After some back and forth between them, Rav Sharki decided to stand down and not argue with the chief rabbi. Rav Sharki decided that hallel would be said but with no bracha.

After the tefilla, Rav Amar explained to the crowd that his decision and statements were not personally against Rav Sharki, but were to clarify the halacha. Rav amar explained that in Morocco and North Africa they used to say hallel with a bracha, but in Eretz Yisrael the psak of "Maran" (Rav Yosef Karo) is accepted to not say the bracha on hallel, and definitely once Rav Ovadiah Yosef has paskened that way.

After Rav Amar left, Rav Sharki said he had not responded so as not to argue with Rav Amar publicly, however he feels that the bracha must be said and Rav Yosef Karo was only referring to hallel on Rosh Chodesh and not the full hallel as it is said on Yom HaAtzmaut, as we make the bracha on Hannukah as well. Rav Sharki said that next year he will say the bracha on the hallel, and hopes by then to convince the rabbonim as well that that is what is correct.

With so many different opinions of what to do on Yom HaAtzmaut, Rav Amar should have either kept quiet, relying on the eilu v'eilu approach, or else not participate. He was a guest in someone else's minyan. I would not walk into a shul as a guest and tell them that their customs are wrong. If I don't like it and think they are doing something that according to my opinion is wrong, I would daven elsewhere.

That being said, rav Sharki's response was dignified, and his submitting to Rav Amar's opinion was honorable. Is the bracha of hallel more important than a public dispute? I don't think so. It initially reminded me of the famous story of Rav Baruch Ber Lebovitz who tore up his own writings when he met and became a student of Rav Chaim Brisker - though then I realized it is not the same. Rav Sharki submitted just to keep the peace, not because he became a talmid and accepted the opinion.

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15 comments:

  1. The way I see it, if you think the Medinah is Reishit Tzmichat Geulateinu, then you also see the Rav Harashi as the Jewish Pope (OK, I'm exaggerating).
    In any case, many in the mamlachti DL community do see the Rav Harashi as the final arbiter on all things Jewish, and as such it is his right to decide whether or not Hallel will be said with a Bracha or without.

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  2. And Rav Sharki's response was quite dignified, as expected from a Talmid Chacham.

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  3. I don't think the Rav Rashi can be a 'guest' at the Kotel. He is the mara d'atra.

    This dispute is a standard one. Rav Goren and Rav Yosef had this same debate in their time, as did rabbanim before them (less publicly). In Mercaz Harav in my time, we followed the instruction of Rav Goren. Rav Sharki's halachic position and deference to the Rav Rashi are both completely consistent with how Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook taught the students to behave at Mercaz Harav.

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    1. Mordechai - I have been thinking about your comment and I am not sure I agree with you. I see your point, but still - can, or does, the Rav HaRashi go to the Kotel and tell the myriad of minyanim which minhagim they should and should not keep, which psakim they should follow, they are only allowed to daven nusach edut mizrach according to psak of Maran, etc.? He is rav harashi, but I dont think that makes him baal habayit of the kotel, or of anywhere else. A public minyan organized by the State might need to follow Rav Amar's (or Rav Metzgers) direction and psak, but a privately organized minyan? I dont think so..

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    2. Anyway there is a rav of the kotel. the rav harashi is no more the moreh d'atra there than he is in any other place.

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  4. Moshe, then what do you say when another Rav Harashi, the Rav Goren, decided that we should say the hallel with Bracha the at maariv ?
    What about all the Rabbanim Harashiim like Rav Herzog or Rav Kook that also said that it should be recited with Bracha in the morning ?

    Otherwise being there yesterday I really disliked the way Harishon leTzyion explained himself : it wasn't a presentation of his position but much more like a definitive and absolute order.
    Not everyone even in the sefaradi community follow every psak from Ovadia Yossef, especially the DL.
    A lot of rabbanim ruled that the hallel is mandatory in the morning, it was totally undignified to push like this his position...

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    1. When did Rav Kook say that Hallel should be recited with or without a bracha?

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  5. being that its a political issue with no basis in halacha, you cant claim eilu v'eile, niot divrei elokim chaim c"v

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  6. Rafi... I'm on your side but really its a joke... the war began on 5 iyar , not ended...6000 jewish dead

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    1. a. what side am I on? I personally did not say hallel this year. I have done so in the past in a couple of years, but generally I do not say hallel. I revisit it every year, always unsure what to do. sometimes I decide one way, sometimes another, this year was more out of laziness.

      b. the reason for saying hallel is not because of the war, but because of the declaration of independence and the miracles that led up to it making it possible.

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    2. Hallel is said on the deliverence from sorrow , not the beginning.
      You are right regarding the hutPah of r omar.

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    3. rafi, for the past 64 years, all the rabbanim, talmidei chachamim and gedolim, of the dati leumi as well as the chareidi communities, have discussed this issue in great length, in both halacha and hashkafa (with various differences of opinions, as is darko shel torah)but harav hagaon MSL (an annonymous blog talkbacker) decides that "really its a joke" and you even bother answering him?

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  7. For a halachic response to why davka 5 iyar and the history of with/without beracha, see Rav Eliezer Melamed: http://www.inn.co.il/Besheva/Article.aspx/11731.
    I heard from Rav Amital why 5 iyar is appropriate: the day that Jews had a home to escape to as opposed to the day before when there was no place they could definitely go to without being sent away.

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    1. Very nice , r amital ... With such logik he could be in the sanhedrin , he can purify a שרץ with 150 reasons.

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  8. GREAT ARTICLE IN MISHPACHA MAGAZINE THIS WEEK ON RABBI AMAR

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