Do the Customs of Mourning during Sefirat HaOmer Apply to Yom HaAtzmaut?

BY RABBI YOSEF ZVI RIMON

There are different customs as to when, during Sefirat HaOmer, to apply the customs of mourning. According to all opinions, the fifth of Iyar – Yom HaAtzmaut – is one of those days that we do apply the customs of mourning. These customs of mourning include not being able to marry, have a haircut, dancing and listening to music. Are these prohibitions allowed on Yom HaAtzmaut?

Shaving

If a person makes a simcha during the Omer, such as a brit milah or a sheva berachot, he is allowed to shave (Rema 493:2). This is because it is a festival for him and so the laws of mourning do not apply (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 559:9). We can therefore apply a kal vachomer. On a day which is itself a festival, such as Yom HaAtzmaut, it is permissible to shave (Rav Avraham Shapira, Rabbanut HaReishit, 878). 

We can suggest a new idea as well. There are those who say that Rabbi Akiva’s students, for whom we mourn during the Omer, died in Bar Kochba’s rebellion (Rav Moshe Zvi Neria, Emunat Itecha 41:5). In other words, they died while trying to establish a state. According to this, all our mourning is based on the fact they were not able to establish a state. Therefore, we certainly say the customs of mourning do not apply on the day we did establish a state!

In practice, since Yom HaAtzmaut is a day of rejoicing, we do not mourn and it is permissible to shave. One can even shave before nightfall in preparation for Yom HaAtzmaut. Likewise, it is permissible to dance and to listen to happy music.

Weddings

According to Rav Yitzchak Nissim, it is permissible to get married on Yom HaAtzmaut, because it is a day on which a miracle occurred and so the customs of mourning do not apply. However, the Yaskil Avdi (III:10:2:7–8) rules that is it is forbidden to marry on Yom HaAtzmaut, since the essence of the miracle was not the declaration of the State – either the day of the ceasefire or the day of the UN’s decision. In practice, the accepted custom is not to get married on Yom HaAtzmaut.

 

Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon is the Nasi of World Mizrachi. He is the Founder and Chairman of Sulamot and La’Ofek, and serves as the Chief Rabbi of Gush Etzion, and Rosh Yeshivah of the Jerusalem College of Technology.

© 2024 World Mizrachi

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