Should one say Hallel on Yom Ha’atzma’us? And if yes, should we say it with a bracha or without a bracha?
The first question is really, should one say Hallel on Columbus Day? When Columbus discovered America it was a great blessing for the Jewish People. It was a preparation for one of the greatest Jewish communities in history.
And therefore, next Columbus Day, when they’re parading down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, take your machzor, or your siddur, and go outside. And if you feel so moved as to say Hallel, then just be careful to say it without a bracha.
And on the 5th of Iyar, don’t say Hallel even without a bracha. Because the 5th of Iyar is not a day of happiness. And I’ll tell you more about that some other day. But for the time being, I answered your question.
TAPE 70 (April 1975)
How should we celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaus?
The answer is that you should not. And I’ll tell you why. Yom Ha’atzmaus is a day that was invented not by the chachmei hatorah. It was invented by a group of atheists called the Knesses. Now in the Knesses there are some decent people too, but the majority are atheists. When atheists get together and they pass a law that this and this day should be celebrated by the Jewish people, then we honor them with a sneeze. We ignore them entirely.
The only ones who make laws for the Jewish people, are the ones who keep the laws of the Jewish people. People who don’t eat kosher and don’t believe in the Torah have no business telling us what to do. And therefore we celebrate the Yom Ha’atzmaus by ignoring it entirely!
Now we pray always for our fellow Jews wherever they are. Whether they’re in Buenos Aires or in Poland or in Eretz Yisroel, we pray for our fellow Jews. But when it comes to making laws, we don’t listen to the atheists at all! And so we ignore the day entirely. It means nothing at all.
TAPE # 821 (April 1991)