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Others maintain that the victory of the small Jewish army against the surrounding Arab states does constitute a “nes nigleh.”

Second, when the Gemara states that upon being redeemed, “they” should say Hallel, of whom is it speaking? Behag writes:

When our Rabbis remarked that there are eighteen occasions during the year on which the individual Jew recites Hallel, they did not mean to imply that it must be recited in private; rather, whenever we speak of the entire house of Israel as opposed to the individual Jew, they are not restricted to the eighteen occasions in the year, and they may recite Hallel whenever they are delivered from trouble.


These Rishonim clearly limit the application of this Gemara to cases in which all of Israel was saved, such as during the Chanukah miracle. This gives rise to the question of how we view the miraculous events of 1948 (or even 1967), and whether they can be said to have affected “all of Israel” in the same manner as the Chanukah miracle.

In summary, we see that a number of Rishonim derive from the Talmud that if the entire nation is saved from danger, they may recite Hallel. They disagree as to whether this applies to individuals as well and whether this Hallel should be recited with a blessing.

May one invoke these sources in order to justify or mandate reciting Hallel on Yom Ha’Atzmaut? Numerous Rishonim rule that a miracle that does not occur to an entire nation does not warrant Hallel, and even according to Me’iri, who would sanction it, this Hallel is recited without a blessing.

Based upon the above reasoning, R. Hadaya rules that Hallel should be recited without a blessing on Yom Ha’Atzmaut due to the precarious security situation.

R. Ovadia Yosef also rules that Hallel may be recited without a blessing, as did R. Yitzchak Herzog (cited by R. Yosef).

R. Meshulem Roth, in the responsum cited above, argues that Yom Ha’Atzmaut should be observed as a festive day, and that naturally one should recite the full Hallel, with a blessing, as well.

The non-Zionist religious community, which in large part opposes the recitation of Hallel on Yom Ha’Atzmaut (and Yom Yerushalayim), has not, for the most part, formulated its halachic objections.

R. Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, former head of the Eida Hareidit, recorded his opposition to reciting Hallel on Yom Ha’Atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim. In addition to his general belief that supporting the state of Israel constitutes heresy, R. Weiss also raises halachic objections. He, like R. Azulai, notes that the Shulchan Aruch does not codify the passage from Pesachim which teaches that the prophets established that one should recite Hallel when one is redeemed from danger.

In addition, even according to that source, as we mentioned above, some limit it to a miracle experienced by the entire nation. Furthermore, he cites Peri Chadash, who opposed local annual festive commemorations.

Interestingly, R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, whose recognition of the significance of the events of 1948 and 1967 is well documented, objected to reciting Hallel, as he objected to any changes in the liturgy. He sanctioned, however, reciting half-Hallel, without a blessing and at the end of Shacharit, as this does not constitute a major change in the liturgy.

* * * * *

Although we have seen different motivations for reciting Hallel without a blessing on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, either due to doubt, or because the takana of the prophets never included reciting a blessing over Hallel, or in light of the undesirable security and spiritual situation of the state of Israel, we might suggest a different approach.


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Rabbi David Brofsky has taught Talmud and halacha in numerous institutions in Israel, including Yeshivat Har Etzion, Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalyim, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and Midreshet Torah V'Avodah. He writes a weekly halacha article for Yeshivat Har Etzion's Virtual Beit Midrash (VBM), and is the author of “Hilkhot Tefilla,” “Hilkhot Moadim,” and a forthcoming book on hilchot aveilut.