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What is the Hallel?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Miscellaneous » The Jewish Calendar | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Hallel means praise. On Jewish holidays and Rosh Chodesh we are commanded to recite Psalms of praise to G-d. The medieval Jewish sages disagree whether this commandment is of Biblical origin or perhaps it was "only" instituted by prophets.

The Hallel is recited after the Amidah prayer of the Shacharit service. It consists of Psalms 113-118, and we recite a blessing beforehand and afterwards. If one did not recite the Hallel during Shacharit, it can still be said independently the entire day, until sunset.

The Hallel (Select verses of praise) is joyously recited, and most synagogues sing many parts in unison!
The Hallel is joyously recited, and most synagogues sing many parts in unison.

Women are exempt from reading the Hallel for it is a Mitzvah which has a time contingency. Despite this fact, many women enjoy doing this mitzvah, especially on holidays when most women attend synagogue. Women are, however, obligated to recite the Hallel on Passover night during the Seder, just as they are obligated to observe all the Seder rituals.

TAGS: Hallel

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Passover » Seder » The Haggadah
Holidays » General Information » Holiday Information

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Hallel
Hebrew word meaning "praise." Normally is a reference to Psalms 113-118-- Psalms of jubilation which are recited during the morning prayers of all joyous holidays.
Amidah
Highlight of every prayer, recited silently while standing. Weekday Amidah consists of nineteen blessings, Sabbath and holiday Amidah contains seven blessings.
Rosh Chodesh
The "Head of the Month," Rosh Chodesh is observed the first day of every Jewish month. If the previous month had 30 days, then the last day of the previous month is also observed; hence a two-day Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh is a semi-holiday, marked by Torah-reading and special prayers.
Shacharit
Morning prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
Seder
Festive meal eaten on the first two nights of the holiday of Passover (In Israel, the Seder is observed only the first night of the holiday). Seder highlights include: reading the story of the Exodus, eating Matzah and bitter herbs, and drinking four cups of wine.
Psalms
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.