Yom Yerushala’im and the Coronavirus

The City of David, Jerusalem, ©Noam Chen for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism

Today, Thursday 21 May 2020, is Iyar 27th.

Every year for more than fifty years, Iyar 28th commemorates the liberation of Jerusalem, during the battle of 1967. It is a day of joy and parades, during which, according to many opinions, we do not recite the Tachanunim (supplications) in prayer.

Street parties and popular gatherings can extend late into the evening. Thus the Rabbinical authorities have established a rule: if Yom Yerushala’im (28 Iyar) falls on a Friday (which is mathematically rare), it will be brought forward to Thursday so as not to risk violating the Shabbat.

This was in particular the case in 2009, and calculations predict that it will be so again in 2023.

However, this year 2020, the Rabbinical authorities in Israel have decided to make an exception to this exception! Indeed, given that the whole world, and in particular the population of Israel, is in containment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Israel’s ban on popular gatherings, it has been estimated that there was no need to move the natural date of 28 Iyar – Friday 22 May.

The CalJ app, which I began to write with G.od’s help a number of years ago (over twenty years on the website, over 10 years for the iPhone version) takes into account the calculation rules established centuries ago by the Sages, and decades ago by the Rabbis regarding the more recent festivities related to the liberation of Eretz-Israel. Naturally, the exceptional situation this year could not be known in advance, which is why the version of the app you have in hand indicates the “wrong” date for Yom Yerushala’im ‘5780.

Personally, I find it quite disturbing, to ​​make an exception to a rabbinical exception for temporary reasons, be them social, medical or political. As a programmer, it’s more comfortable for me to refer to calculation formulas 😁

The future (which means, in three years!) will tell us if this exceptional exception is to become again the rule for Yom Yerushala’im on Friday…

Shabbat shalom! and a very happy Jerusalem Liberation Day, which I hope will soon be complete, אמן.

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