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Yehonatan Chipman

Rabbi Yehonatan Chipman is a Jerusalem-based translator and scholar of Jewish texts who has for years been writing a weekly commentary on the Torah portion published on his blog, Hitzei Yehonatan. He is a contributor to the book, Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections (2013). In 2000, Rabbi Chipman gave smiḥa to Rabbi Evelyn Goodman-Thau, the first female rabbi of Austria.


על הניסים ליום העצמאות | Al Hanissim for Yom ha-Atsma’ut: Theological & Liturgical Reflections, by Yehonatan Chipman (2003)

Contributed on: 25 Apr 2012 by Yehonatan Chipman |

Every year on Yom ha-Atzmaut I feel a certain sense of frustration about its liturgy, and the failure of Religious Zionism to shape the holiday into one that would make a clear and definite religious statement. The “festive” prayer for Yom ha-Atzmaut is a hotchpotch of Yom Kippur, Kabbalat Shabbat, Shabbat Mevarkhim, and Pesaḥ. One gets a sense that there is an avoidance of hard issues. Even such a simple thing as saying Hallel with a blessing is not yet self-evident, but a subject of constant debate. Every year, there seem to be more leading rabbis, who adopt crypto-Ḥaredi stances, issuing pronunciamentos as to why one must not enter into the doubt of saying a brakha levatala, an unnecessary blessing, in this case. (As I was typing these words, I was interrupted by a phone call from a friend with this very question!) Bimhila mikvodam (no affront to the honor due them intended), but what on earth do they think the Talmud is talking about when it says that “On every occasion that Israel are in distress and then delivered, they are to recite the Hallel” (Pesaḥim 116a), if not the likes of Yom ha-Atzmaut? . . .

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