An official letter by the legendary Ponevezh Yeshiva secretary, Rabbi Binyamin Ze'ev Deutsch is currently on sale at the Jerusalem of Gold Auction House.
In the letter, Rabbi Deutsch, personal assistant of Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman and father of Rabbi Baruch Shmuel Deutsch and Rabbi Asher Deutsch, turned to then mayor of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Yitzchak Gershtenkorn, reminding him of his commitment to donate money to cover the yeshiva's expenses for Israel's first Independence Day in 1949, a year after the establishment of the State.
The letter demonstrates the close relationship between haredi Torah leaders and the State, showing how Bnei Brak's founder chose to support Torah learning on Independence Day: "Loyal brother, we are honored to remind the Rabbi that Thursday is the day chosen for blessing - the day of Israel's revival in its land," wrote Rabbi Deutsch.
During the early years of the State, many haredim viewed its establishment positively and recited the Hallel thanksgiving prayer during the first Independence days.
Hallel was said also in Bnei Brak synagogues, and Israeli flags were raised. At Ponovezh Yeshiva, described as the leading yeshiva of the Lithuanian community, the flag of Israel is still raised on every Independence Day. This is done in accordance with the explicit instruction of the founder and head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, who instructed to continue the practice even after his death.
"As we have merited the beginning of the redemption, so may we merit seeing the raising of the Torah and the redemption of Greater Israel, with the coming of our righteous Moshiach in the Land of Israel", Rabbi Deutsch concluded his letter.