Top of the evening all...
It is July 2nd. It is that tiny period between Canada Day and July 4th. For obvious reasons, both of these holidays are important to me.
Apparently, someone asked a rabbi whether or not to fly the flag on July 4th. Please allow me to answer the question.
I am not entirely certain as to why this is a rabbinic question. Nonetheless, please allow me to respond in a more in-depth manner. The Torah tells us in Leviticus Chaper 18 that we are not to follow the laws of the non-Jews around us. This would clearly refer to their holidays. A cursory glance at this law gives us more than enough reason to observe the holidays in question. The Torah does not know from holidays of national celebration. It only understands idolatry. That is a problem. Most of the national holidays are not of such a nature.
Moreover, when we, as Jews, take part in these holidays, we make a communal statement that we share in the joys and sorrows of the countries where we make our homes. We remember that while there has been discrimination, most of the places we live have legal policies in place to end that discrimination, and not to perpetuate it.
We should keep in mind further that the Jews of most nations have taken part in the process of building nations. We have served in the military. We have taught in the schools. We have served in the government. We have gotten up in the morning and gone to work. We have given to the charities. We have done this as individuals, and we have done this as communities. When we celebrate national birth, when we shed a tear on Memorial Day/Remembrance Day, when we remember the herculean efforts necessary to ensure basic workers' rights that we take for granted, it is both an internal and external reminder that we have endeavoured to create these national homes as much as anyone else.
I suppose that there is a tiny caveat. Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Christmas Day are national holidays here in Canada. On Good Friday, you should be in the throes of preparing for Pesach. On Easter Sunday, it is Pesach. Do not observe those holidays.
On Christmas Day, I encourage all to go out for Chinese food and then to a movie.
Have a good evening all. If you are in the US or in Canada, happy birthday to your respective country.
Good night to all.