Our Rabbi & Yom Ha-Atzmaut

Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook

Our Rabbi greatly valued going out into the streets of the city and participating in the dancing with "Amcha" (literally "your people," an affectionate term for "the masses"). At the end of the celebration he would go to dance in front of the President’s House in order to express his full identification with the Jewish governing body of the State.

On the night of Yom Ha-Atzmaut, our Rabbi would dance from the Yeshiva to Beit Ha-Nasi [the President’s House]. Even though the President was not awake at this late hour, our Rabbi would take this same path indefatigably each and every year. The students pointed out to him that each time that they arrived at Beit Ha-Nasi, the President was sleeping and did not come out to them! To this our Rabbi responded: "What does it matter to me if he is awake or asleep? We are honoring the Kingship, since we have a President!" Furthermore, he always asked the guards to deliver his blessing and the yeshiva’s blessing to the President. He did not pay heed to the fatigue of those around him, rather he emulated the exuberance of Eliyahu the Prophet who would gird his loins and run before the chariot of Achav until they reach Yizre’el, in order to honor of the Kingship (see Melachim 1 18:46 and Menachot 98a).

In the first years after the establishment of the State no party for Yom Ha-Atzmaut was held in the yeshiva. Our Rabbi said: "I am going out to the street to ask people why they are dancing, to initiate conversation, to create a connection with our people. A year does not go by without people returning to faith. This is an evening to be spent with the entirety of Israel." Our Rabbi eventually agreed to have a party in the yeshiva only on the condition that afterwards they would go out and dance together with everyone.