Friday, May 28, 2010

Frum Fear Flag Flying

This week's Yated features the following letter that opens the Readers Write column:

I am writing this letter to the Yated in the hopes of bringing the following issue to the attention of the frum public across the United States and possibly receiving some feedback.

As a frum Flatbush resident living in a neighborhood with goyim, I have noticed that as Memorial Day approaches, just about every non-Jewish or non-frum home proudly displays an American Flag. I also noticed that not a single frum home displays a flag. I recently overheard two of my non-Jewish neighbors discussing this phenomenon in a most negative manner. These are middle-aged neighborly types who have been fine neighbors to us over the years.

I am wondering why our community does not display the flag. We all benefit from this medinah shel chessed. It would seem to me that we should pay homage to the men and women who gave their lives to defend the freedom we all cherish. I would submit that our failure to display the flag may very well be creating a major chillul Hashem. Additionally, it gives our detractors another (valid?) reason to gripe.

I recall that after 9/11, the gedolim urged everyone to display the flag, and many, including the most yeshivishe homes, did. I am wondering why this is not something that is urged on an annual basis.

For the record, I am a yeshivishe baal habayis and, thus far, in accordance with the norms of our community , do not display the flag. I am wondering what the rabbonim and gedolim hold regarding this matter. I would greatly appreciate if you would publish this letter to generate some discussion of this issue in your choshuveh forum. I thank you in advance.

A concerned Yeshivishe Citizen

There is not much that I can add, other than to say that I've wondered myself the same thing many times. Perhaps it is a vestige from our earlier Galus travails and travels that has made us harbor ill will towards the central government. But in this medinah shel chessed, maybe it is time to change this attitude.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller, was one Rabbi from the Yeshiva community who recognized this issue. As seen from the following passage :

On the 4th of July, we have an opportunity to express our appreciation for the affluence and freedom we have received and achieved in this great country. A leading American Torah authority, who set a lot of the direction as to the attitudes of Torah Jewry in this country, was Rabbi Avigdor Miller ob"m. Rabbi Miller was well known for carrying an American flag as he marched in the 4th of July parades of New York with great pride and joy…


  1. It's very simple. You can't be different from the rest of the block.

  2. why not? What's the aveira? Is non-flag display "darkei Tzibbur" or merely a function of laziness/ lack of social awareness?

  3. BTW is this pic of Ponovezh on Yom HaAtzmaut?

  4. It may not be an aveira, but I doubt that you dusted off your stars and stripes from the gulf war to unfurl on this glorious day.

    Yes, that is Ponovezh, and I assume it is YH, as that is the only day they fly the flag, so I am told.

  5. there is something I want to say that is not for a comment thread.

    Please email me @

  6. Just one letter this week in the Yated, extolling Rabbi Miller for flying the flag, but not a peep from anyone else. Has anyone ever asked a Rav why they don't fly the flag?


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