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Is Yom Ha-Atzma'ut (Israeli Independance Day) considered a Chag (Jewish Holiday)? I have been to three types of Shuls (Synagogues) on this day:

  1. Those that have added the saying of Hallel but without the recitation of a bracha (benediction)
  2. Shuls that have added Hallel with the bracha
  3. Shuls that have not added anything.
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I'm pretty sure nobody sacrifices a Korban Chagiga on Yom HaAtzmaut. –  Baal Shemot Tovot Apr 15 '12 at 6:44
    
@Vram - you sure about that? –  Adam Mosheh Apr 26 '12 at 19:05
    
Which question is being asked here? 1. Is it a chag? 2. Should hallel be recited? –  Adam Mosheh Apr 26 '12 at 19:08
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3 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted
  • R' Howard Jachter lays out and analyzes a lot of relevant sources on the Hallel question here. It's worth reading the whole essay; it packs a lot of material into a short piece. His conclusion is:

    It is difficult to arrive at a definitive conclusion whether one should recite Hallel with a Beracha on Yom Haatzmaut. Hence, most of those who recite Hallel on Yom Haatzmaut omit the Beracha. The practice of reciting Hallel without a Beracha upon a miracle is mentioned in the Meiri’s commentary to Pesachim 117a. Moreover, the practice of reciting Hallel without a Beracha is familiar to Sephardic Jews who follow the opinion of the Rambam (Hilchot Chanukah 3:7) to recite Hallel without a Beracha on Rosh Chodesh and the last six days of Pesach. Far from being a “cop-out,” the approach of reciting Hallel without a Beracha is an expression of a sophisticated recognition of both the positive and negative aspects of Medinat Yisrael. We are full of joy that Medinat Yisrael exists, but we are pained by its shortcomings.

  • R' Eli Ozarowski goes into more detail about different philosophic and Halachic attitudes to Yom Haatzma'ut in his essay (PDF) for this year's Yom Haatzmaut To-Go packet from YU.

  • Finally, every few years I re-read and am brought to tears by "The Significance of Yom Ha'atzmaut" by R' Mordechai Greenberg, the head of Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh. (Sorry about being a day late with this; my old link for it was broken, and I had to track it down.) It starts off relatively slowly with a theory of uniquely Jewish nationalism, but by the time you get to the end, you'll want to run to Israel right now and be part of the Redemption. At least, that's my reaction.

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It depends on how you define a "chag,"re. an issuer melacha. It's worth noting that the greeting on Yom Ha'atzmaut is "Moadim LeSimcha liGeulah Shleimah I never quite understood this, but in light of the definition of "chag" as a day on which Melacha is prohibited, perhaps this is the origin of the usage of the phrase Moadim LeSimcha (the greeting for Chol HaMoed).

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Agreed. "Chag" is a term of art in the Torah that refers specifically to what we call "Yom Tov." There are those who are adamant about not saying "Chag Sameach" on Purim or Chanuka for this reason. "Mo'ed," on t he other hand, is a more generic term. –  Isaac Moses Apr 20 '10 at 15:04
    
Mo'ed is also appropriate, since historically, the Jews have not been as strict keeping the moadim, and thus Rabbis need to enforce their observance even more. (avot 3:15) –  Jeremy Apr 20 '10 at 17:55
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This Question is Highly Political,but the basic question Hallachicly is can you add new holidays for all jews.To add fuel to this Political question and cause it to be even more highly problematic is its occurrence DURING Sefiras Haomer

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then according to your logic, what about purim and chanukah? not during the counting of the omer, but they are certainly new holidays. –  Adam Mosheh Apr 26 '12 at 19:06
    
Also, Lag ba-Omer? –  Adam Mosheh Jul 3 '12 at 15:59
    
How unfortunate that a Halachik question is highly politicized. –  Double AA Jul 4 '12 at 5:07
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