Remembrance and Independence

For years, there’s been an argument in my house over Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Growing up in that ‘ra-ra State of Israel’ dati leumi environment meant that my kids were brainwashed from a very young age into:

  1. Watching and / or attending as many Yom HaZikaron events as possible.
  2. Insisting on buying Israeli flags for the car and / or house; insisting on ‘BBQing’ on Yom HaAtzmaut; insisting on playing loud music during the Omer because ‘it’s a chag’.

Since Covid, a lot of the brainwashing has thankfully disappeared.

But not all of it.


So it was, that one of my kids got extremely upset with me this year, because I wasn’t ‘feeling Yom HaZikaron enough’.

The implication was that I don’t care, enough, that Jews are dying in Gaza. Etc.

Why did my kid draw this conclusion? Because I refused to watch tear-jerking, manipulative interviews with October 7th survivors, and their family members on Yom HaZikaron.


For that brief couple of hours that the brainwashing kicked back in again, it didn’t matter that I spent literally a whole month after October 7th saying the whole book of tehillim, every single day, to try and ‘protect’ the soldiers who were going to be sent into Gaza.

It didn’t matter that I say the Rav’s prayer for the soldiers and the hatufim every single day.

It didn’t matter that I’ve contributed a buchta of cash to try to get the Rav’s Torah written to protect the soldiers and stop the war.

(You can join me in that endeavor – see the end for how to do that.)

It didn’t matter that so much of my hitbodedut has been tied up with trying to manage my worry and sadness about the situation in our failed State, not least, the young men being cynically sent to die and get their legs blown off in Gaza, as our politicians play games with us all.

All that mattered, is that I didn’t fall into a massive state of sadness and depression by gorging on manipulate Yom HaZikaron content.


When the brainwashing wore off, a couple of hours after Yom HaZikaron had ended, my daughter apologised.

But in the meantime, we were ready for ‘ra ra Independence Day’!!!!

With yet more planes flying overhead!!!!

And other ostentatious displays of military might, and stupid, empty speeches from politicians and ‘leaders’ about the power of this failed State, that just ring so very hollow in 2024.


I decided, I’m not doing anything special, at all, this year.

Not even a token BBQ for my kids.



In the meantime, my neighbor downstairs, who’d been programmed for the ‘down’ on Yom HaZikaron, obediently got programmed for the ‘up’ now the magic switch had been flipped, and ‘sadness’ had turned to ‘joy’.

Just like that. In the space of a minute.


On Yom HaZikaron, she told me she wasn’t going to eat the cookies I brought her yet, along with the Rav’s prayer for Yom HaZikaron, because she ‘didn’t want happy things in her mouth today’.

Eight hours later, the music was turned way, way up, and she was having a very loud, very long party in the garden, rehashing 70s rock hits with a bunch of friends.


What changed, all of a sudden?

Did we just win the war in Gaza?

Did techiat hameitim happen and all the dead came back to life?

Did all our corrupt politicians and army leaders get arrested?


Just the brainwashing program had switched from the ‘down’ to the ‘up’, and so millions of people here had their emotions manipulated by the media and social media into a (kinda fake…) state of (fake…) ‘pseudo-joy’.


I walked around doing hitbodedut for an hour in the afternoon, and saw a bunch of people doing BBQs, of course. But in a pretty subdued way.

There were very few Israeli flags being flown this year.

Even though the brainwashing is still so very strong, there are encouraging signs that it’s finally reaching the expiration date.


Next year, we’ll be having a different celebration of ‘Remembrance’ – the remembrance that this whole world is just a corridor to the World to Come.

And that rectifying the soul is the main point of everything that’s happening down here, in ‘crazy world’.

And we’ll also be celebrating ‘Independence’ in a totally different way, too, next year.

Independence from the corruption of the failed State and army; independence from foreign control; independence from all the ‘brainwashing’, that keeps us so small, spiritually, and so easy to manipulate and fool.

Bezrat Hashem.


But for now, the ‘brainwashing storm’ has passed on into the night.

I am free to feel sad again, if I want – and also, to feel happy again, regardless of how ‘bleak’ the outlook currently looks in the world, and especially in Israel.

The worry and strain is really starting to get to a whole bunch of people.

The war is dragging on, with no end in sight.

The casualties are climbing higher and higher.

But Rabbenu teaches mitzva gadolah l’hiot b’simcha. L’hiot b’simcha tamid.


It’s very hard to hang on to happiness right now.

But remaining ‘positive’ about this process we are all going through has never been more important.

Or more difficult.



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