Patience is a Virtue


Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day dates back to the founding of the Modern State of Israel in 1948. In Religious Zionist circles, Yom Ha’Atzmaut is a religious holiday where special prayers including Hallel are recited. According to the Religious Zionists, The state of Israel is considered to be “reishit tzmichat geulatenu”, the first flowering of our redemption, the beginning of the slow process of the geulah (redemption) which is outlined in the Torah.

In Parshat Ekev, God links our inheritance of the land of Israel with our observance of the mitzvoth. In Devarim 11:22-25, we read the words “If you diligently keep the commandment which I am commanding you to perform, to love God, to walk in God’s ways and to cling to God. Then God will expel (vehorish) all of the nations before you and you will inherit nations greater and more powerful than you. Every place that the soul of your foot steps on will be yours, from the wilderness of the Lebanon, from the Euphrates River to the ultimate sea, will be your boundary. No man will stand up to you, fear and awe of you will God place upon the surface of the entire land that you are stepping into as God promised you.”

In Parshat Nitzavim, Devarim 30:4-5 we read about kibbutz galuyot, the ingathering of the exiles: “If your exiled one will be at the edge of the heavens, from there God will gather you and from there will God take you. God will bring you to the land that your forefathers inherited and you will inherit it and God will benefit you and multiply you more than your forefathers”.

Devarim 30:20 concludes “To love God, to obey God and to cling to God; for God is your life and your longevity to live on the soil that God swore to your forefathers, to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov to give them.”

From these Biblical passages we can learn the following:


  1. In order to hold on to the land of Israel we must observe the mitzvoth
  2. When the full redemption will occur, our enemies will be cast out of Israel and Israel’s borders will expand
  3. Following the exile, God will bring us back to Israel

  How is this relevant today?

1. There has been a resurgence of mitzvah observance in Israel over the past few years including Israelis who used to identify themselves as ‘secular’ and now identify themselves as ‘chozrim bitshuvah’, newly religious. There are also many Israelis who consider themselves ‘secular’ yet they are standing on the front lines to defend our land and participating in the mitzvah of Yishuv EretzYisrael, settling the land of Israel.

2. The fact that Israel won the war in 1948 and was able to win back much of the land (and even more in 1967) was nothing short of a miracle. Now we have to work on holding on to it.

3.Since 1948 we have truly seen the ingathering of the exiles with Jews making aliya from all over the world. However, we still have to work on how to fully integrate and absorb the immigrants once they get here.

As Yom Ha’Atzmaut approaches, let’s keep in mind the words of Rav Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook: “Patience is not surrender, but the mature recognition that perfection is achieved in gradual changes.”

Rav Kook adds: “The joy and celebration of Israel’s Independence day is the joy of fulfilling the Torah commandment of establishing Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel.”

Chag Atzmaut Sameach!