Music on Yom Ha-Atzma’ut

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I have heard R. Hershel Schachter say many times that R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik was opposed to suspending any of the mourning observances of sefirah for the celebration of Yom ha-Atzma’ut, Israeli Independence Day. So, when a group at Yeshiva University would arrange to celebrate Yom ha-Atzma’ut and would invite R. Schachter to speak, he would gladly speak but would not stay for the inevitable live music.

However, the logic for suspending the mourning customs is not difficult for me to understand. If one were to be personally saved from danger and designate a day during sefirah as a private Purim, I doubt that anyone would object to the suspension of mourning for that joyous day. Those who feel that Yom ha-Atzma’ut is the equivalent of, or even greater than, a personal Purim celebrate it as such.

The revision of the Ma’ariv service of Yom ha-Atzma’ut, though, is something that I do not understand.

UPDATE: To be clear, this post was generated by a request from MoChassid on his blog and in the comments section to this blog.

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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