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Apr 20, 2011

Pesach Night = Yom Ha'Atzmaut

The overwhelming custom in Eretz Yisrael seems to be to say hallel in shul on the night of pesach after maariv, before going home for the seder. Even by people who used to not say it before moving to Eretz Yisrael. As far as I can remember, in the USA it was mostly a chassidishe minhag to say hallel. Here it is difficult to find a shul that does not say it.

I had this thought while saying hallel on Pesach night - this, saying hallel in shul on Pesach night, even with a bracha, is the perfect response to anybody who has halachic problems with saying hallel on Yom Ha'Atzmaut.

Anybody who says hallel, or at least has no problem with people saying hallel, on Pesach night, with a bracha as well, should not have a problem with saying, or with those who say, hallel on Yom Ha'Atzmaut.

It does not mean you have to say it (on either day/night), and it does not mean you should say it. At least it should mean that you could say it, and nobody should be able to think you are going against halacha.


  1. Can explain your rationale?

    Rav Goren, btw, did write an essay where he based the recital of Hallel on the *night* of Yom HaAtzmaut on the recital on the *night* of Pesah. I think it appears in Torat Hashabbat v'hamoed. Ironically, since I'm in Beit Shemesh for hag, I don't have those books at hand.

    Moadim L'simha!

  2. There are a number of halachic reasons people oppose saying hallel on YH. I might not remember them all offhand, but we can discuss them in any ensuing conversation as people add them.

    The ones I remember right now are:
    1. we cannot make up our own instance in saying hallel, but only those mandated by chazal.
    Chazal did not say to say hallel Pesach night in shul in addition to the seder hallel. That was added later, and it was definitely added much later for most of ashkenaz Jewry. Just like it was added later, YH was added later and that opposition falls.

    2. One does not say hallel at the beginning of a process, even if there are miracles involved. YH was only the beginning of the process of the miracles of independence (and geula according to some), and therefore should not be said.
    The rejection of that is that the night of Pesach was also only the beginning of the process of the redemption. if we can say hallel for that (an extra hallel), we can say it for YH as well.
    Somebody might argue that Pesach was worthy on its own and should not be considered just the beginning of the process (as we say in dayeinu perhaps?), but that is a matter of perspective, and objectively they are both equally the beginning of the process or worthy on their own merits.

    Please list other points of opposition, or i will later as I remember more, and we can discuss those.

  3. Mordechai - are you in Eretz Yisroel for yomtov?

  4. We are indeed in Israel. Just got back from showing my wife hafirot drom har habayit. We're with her best friends' family in RBS A until the end of hag. I have a few students here that I hope to visit while I'm at it.

  5. I find it interesting to note that Yom HaAtzma'uth is a stand-in for Pesah.

    What do most of us do on Yom HaAtzma'uth? We make al haAish (not so unlike BBQ July 4 in the U. S.).

    The lafah resembles the [soft] matzah which is folded, to allow the insertion of the broken matzah. The shuwarmah, lamb or goat, is like the meat from the Qorban Pesah. The greens are the maror, and the z-hug is the spicy stuff which people mistake for the maror,...but tastes good.

    The Rabbanut just has to tell people that even though we postpone various celebrations in order to prevent Hillul Shabbath, we should say Hallel on the day.

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  7. Take a look at the new book Thinking Aloud which is conversations with HaGaon J. B. Soloveitchik. The Rav is very emphatic that it is wrong to say hallel on Yom Haatzmaut with a bracha. He personally feels that it shouldn't be said at all. However, in his classic humility he does not protest against those that do.
    What would he say abould lel Pesach? I don't know. Being that the Gra said it, I assume he would concur.


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