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Study and Theory/
Independence Day

Aharon Megged

The Day of Independence Haggadah

In preparation for Independence Day 1952, Aharon Megged wrote and edited for the IDF a "Haggadat Atzma'ut" similar to the Passover Seder, intended for the soldiers to read at the holiday meal: As a result of pressure of the Military Rabbinate and the religious parties the Haggadah was shelved even before Independence Day and most of its copies were burnt. We present here some experts from this Haggadah:


On the eve prior to the 6th of Iyar, 5708, marking the 1878th year since the exile of Israel, the members of the People's Council, the representatives of the Hebrew settlements in Israel and the Zionist movement gathered and declared the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, which is the State of Israel. Blessed be he who has granted us life, who has sustained us and has enabled us to reach this occasion, the day of our freedom the Holiday of Independence.


Commander: To the State of Israel!


 Everyone: To life! (Drink the first glass)


We were slaves to gentiles in all lands and countries, from east to west, and they had tortured and persecuted us, and violently attacked us. And we told one another: Let us lift up our heads and return to our land to work our land. The House of Jacob, Come and we shall go! And we went forth from there with our youth and with our elders, with our wives and with our infants, and had we not left, we and our children and our sons and grandchildren would have been enslaved to the nations until this day.


Song: We came to Israel to build and be built in it.


With Very Few people we came to the land, one from a city and two from a family, and we saw the land and lo it was destroyed and desolate, mostly a desert rifle and a few swamps, and we said: And we shall inherit it by labor and it shall be our legacy. And we began to plough it, to seed it and to work the land, and we built villages in the Galilee and in Judea, in the valley and in the Negev, and we built cities in the mountain and along the seashore, so that it should become a province for us and for all those who succeed us, emigrating from the lands in which they were scattered and the wilderness and the solitary place shall gladden them.



The wilderness and the barren land shall gladden them;

and the desert shall rejoice,

and shall blossom like a lily.

Water shall gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.


Blessed is the Lord blessed be he, blessed are the first and last pioneers, blessed are the guardians and the defenders, blessed are the soldiers and the sailors, and the navigators, blessed are the leaders of the convoys and the sappers, blessed are the heads of the nation and its leaders, thanks to all of whom we have reached this day.


In response to four sons did the Torah speak:


One is wise, one is evil, one is innocent and one does not know how to ask.


The Wise One -  what does he say? What are the testimonies and laws and regulations on which our country stands?


You shall reply to him as per the laws of the state: It is open to Jewish immigration and to the ingathering of the exiles, it is striving to develop the land for all its inhabitants, based on the foundations of freedom, justice and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel.


The Evil One – what does he say? What is this country to you? To you and not to him, and by excluding himself, he has denied the major principle. So you too, respond harshly to him and say:  Because of this it is for us, for us and not for him, for if he were there he would not be redeemed.


The Artless One – what does he say? What is this? And you said to him: With Aliyah, labor and defense have we conquered the land and established the state.


And that he does not know how to ask Initiate a conversation with him, as it is written and you shall relate the stories of heroism to all the inhabitants of the state. The dwellers of the country - the veteran residents, all residents of the country - new and old alike.


And it came to pass  when the land was quiet and the state was ready, and its gates were widely opened, and tens of thousands of our people flowed to it by land, sea, and air to build and to be  built therein. Holocaust survivors from Poland and Germany and all the countries of Europe, and our brothers from Algeria and Tunisia and from all of the African countries, and on the wings of eagles came our brothers from Yemen and Babylonia and Persia. Behold they reside in transit camps and villages and cities in the mountains of Judea, Galilee, near the shore, and in the Negev, and engage in all vocations, working the land, paving roads and working with wood, stone and iron, they hold the steering wheel and sail ships at sea, and thus lend a shoulder to the building of our country.


We shall build our land our homeland

Since to us this land belongs

We shall build our land our homeland

Our very goal -  generations long

We shall build it despite our many foes

Because our will shall triumph all our throes

Slaves we'll be no more

Hope our lips will roar

In our blood it flows

For liberty


We shall free our land, galore!


As we proceed side by side together

Increasing power we shall gain

As we proceed side by side together

The nation's hope we shall attain

We are all flags for liberty with zest

The sound of freedom pounding from our chests

Our lovely land is growing

For a nation glowing

Here we are as one

We lift a stone

We build a home

We prove that liberty has won!


This is the day of Israel's Independence, this is the fifth year of the State of Israel, and we shall rejoice in it, for we have overpowered our enemies and conquered our country and have brought to it our brethren from all over the world. And even if we are all wise, we are all strong, we are all heroes – we are commanded to strengthen our country, to build it and fortify it, to settle it and work in it, and always be ready to defend it. Be strong and be strengthened!

Everyone: Be strong and be strengthened!

Commander: To life of the  _____________ (name of unit) unit.

All: To life! (drink the fourth cup)


Song: Hatikva

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