Halachot of Yom Haatzmaut

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Dear Rabbi,

With Yom Haatzmaut in a few days time, I would like to get your guidance on:

– Do I say Hallel or not?

– If so, with or without a brocha?

– Are leniencies allowed with regard to music, haircuts etc?

Also – I am keeping the first 33 days of the Sefira. Are haircuts allowed on Rosh Chodesh?

Thanks a lot

Best regards,


Unknown Object

Dear JeremyAs I am sure you know, Yom Ha’atzma’ut is one of those contentious issues which divides the OJ world. The answer to your Q’s, of course, is “it depends who you ask.” There are a range of opinions which may be considered (by some!) to be legitimate. Since you are asking me I will tell you what I would advise:

No berachah, no Hallel, no tachanun. If you would like to do so, after davening you can say some chapters of Tehillim, such as those included in the Hallel selection.

No haircuts, however if you would like, you can shave on Friday 4 Iyyar (relying on those who allow shaving every Friday during the ‘Omer). Of course if you are anyway shaving for reasons of employment circumstances, this would perhaps be irrelevant.

Music: While I would not explicitly permit music because of Yom Ha’atzma’ut, I would go along with those who allow pre-recorded music anyway. Esp. if it is Jewish music which helps you appreciate the significance of the day with respect to the Divine favour allowing us to return to our land with our own government (however imperfect). I would not attend an event with live music, however.

No haircuts on Rosh Chodesh, I’m afraid. However you can get a haircut next year on 30 Nissan =1st day Rosh Chodesh Iyar as it falls on Friday, so the combination of the two (erev Shabbos + RCh) allows haircuts.

Questions & Answers
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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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