Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, a well-known Dati Leumi Rav in Israel, drank a L’Chayim to the state of Israel together with Lev Tahor members this past April.
Rabbi Birnbaum is the founding director of Ohr Torah Stone’s Emissary Training Programs and he travels around the world mentoring rabbis and teachers in the outreach and education organizations Ohr Torah Stone (OTS) dispatches to Jewish communities around the globe. He also researches Jewish kehillos around the world.
In a video of the unusual scene, Rabbi Birnbaum is heard speaking and lamenting the fact that he’s not in Eretz Yisrael for Yom Ha’atzamut and the mesiras hanefesh he took for him to be with Lev Tahor instead. He also mentions that “tonight is Yom Hazikaron for fallen IDF soldiers. I was in the Lebanon War.”
“I told Rav [Uriel] Goldman that it’s mesirus nefesh for me to be here today,” he said. “You’re not with me on this but today is Yom Ha’Atzmaut in Eretz Yisrael. And in our view – b’seder – it’s also a machlokes – but it’s also a neis from Hakadosh Baruch Hu. So I’m going to make a l’Chaim both in honor of the kehilla…and lichvod Yom Ha’Atzmaut. L’Chaim.”
“L’Chaim,” the Lev Tahor members replied, and one of them added: “I understand the mesirus nefesh. Definitely.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)