Music on Yom Ha-Atzma’ut II

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There is an excerpt posted online from a book by R. Shmuel Katz, author of the more popular Kedoshim Tihyu, about the first seventy years of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The passage excerpted is regarding Yom ha-Atzma’ut and the official attitude of the Chief Rabbinate.

R. Katz records that, at first, the Chief Rabbinate declared that Yom ha-Atzma’ut has the status of Lag ba-Omer and, therefore, shaving, weddings, etc. are permitted on the holiday. This was declared on 11 Nissan, 5709 (April 12, 1949) in an announcement in the newspaper Ha-Tzofeh.

However, there was a subsequent meeting during the intermediary days of Pesah that year, on 18 Nissan, 5709 (April 19, 1949), in which it was decided that inter alia the regular sefirah prohibitions should be maintained and the issue should be re-examined when Jerusalem is fully in Israeli possession. This retraction was also published in Ha-Tzofeh.

Unfortunately, the excerpt does not continue to the period after the Six Day War so I cannot report of any changes in the Chief Rabbinate’s ruling. There is, however, posted online a ruling by Chief Rabbis Isser Yehuda Unterman and Yitzhak Nissim that one should not observe the sefirah mourning on Yom Yerushalayim, 28 Iyar. However, that ruling explicitly takes into account that many have the custom not to observe the mourning restrictions after Lag ba-Omer anyway.

In the synagogue calendar published by Mekhon Shlomo and arranged by R. Yehuda Eisenberg it says in the entry for Yom ha-Atzma’ut that Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim permits shaving on that day.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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