Thursday, July 3, 2008

Have a Beautiful Fourth

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and for many they will mark the day as just another day off from work. "What's the big deal about the Fourth" they will say to themselves. "After all, we're frum Jews and Eretz Yisroel is our real homeland." Well, I'm a frum Jew, and yes, Eretz Yisroel is the Jewish homeland. But I live in the United States, and I'm thankful that I do. I'm a real Yankee Doodle Dandy, maybe not a citizen by birth, but certainly by adoption. And yes, I love this place, this land that opened up its doors after the stark raving mad lunatic Europeans attempted to wipe the name Jew off the face of the earth. I'm thankful because whatever its reasons, America welcomed me as a daughter. I'm thankful because America gave my parents a chance to heal some of their grievous wounds, although they could never forget them.

I am thankful because I can see God's hand here too. On this Fourth of July I can add my hopes that our country will remember from where its greatness sprang. And on this day I can call America beautiful without being labeled some kind of sappy nut.

America, The Beautiful
Words written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893
Music written by Samuel A. Ward*

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountains' majesty
Above the fruited plains.
America, America,
God shed His grace on thee;
And crowned thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
Oh, beautiful for pilgrim's feet
Whose stern impassion'd stressed
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.
America, America,
God mend thy every flaw
Confirm thy soul with self control
Thy liberty in law.
Oh, beautiful, for hero's feet
Proved in liberating strife;
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life.
America, America,
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine.
Oh, beautiful for patriot's dream
That sees beyond the years;
Whose alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America, America,
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea....


Anonymous said...

The tension between being an American and asserting our unique identities as Jews has long been felt by many. I appreciate how touchingly you explain why it's important to feel pride in America!

As a strange aside, the "word" for the word verification is 'godspt.' Funny, no?

Lion of Zion said...

what a sign of אחדות: this year all jews will say hallel and omit tahanun in honor of חג החרות


Anonymous said...

1) It is a Torah mandate to pray for the peace of the place you live. This is mentioned in the Navi and Mishna. Hakoras hatov is also a fundamental Torah principle. Additionally, we should pray for those serving our country around the world.

2) Thanks for posting the later stanzas of the song, which are not as well known as the beginning of it.

3) Re tachanun on the 4th, see

Lion of Zion said...


thanks for that reference. i will add it to my post.

does the sephardic institute have any influence in this matter?

Anonymous said...

LOZ - You are welcome.

"does the sephardic institute have any influence in this matter?"

What do you mean ? If other congregations follow it in this ? I don't know, maybe some, you can contact them and ask.

Anonymous said...

Just saw a good article - 'Rav Moshe Loved America ; So Should We'

Recommended !

ProfK said...

Thanks D, indeed inspiring.

Lion of Zion said...


interesting article on rav moshe, although i'd like to see the mekorot.

the author also exaggerates about the role of his yeshivah. such hyperbole is completely unnecessary (and can even detract from the image), especially when telling the truth about him would be more than enough to illustrate his greatness

Lion of Zion said...


i gather that you are a professor of literature or language. in this connection you might be interested in this patriotic hebrew poet:

Bas~Melech said...

Every time I see/hear that song, I think of The Westing Game. I love that book. :-)