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What is the difference between the "complete Hallel" and the "incomplete Hallel"?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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The complete Hallel is Psalms 113-118. On certain days we omit parts of these Psalms (the first eleven verses of Psalms 115 and 116), and the remainder is dubbed the "incomplete Hallel." The incomplete Hallel is recited on Rosh Chodesh and on the last six days of Passover.

The reading of the Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is not of Biblical origin, nor was it instituted by the prophets. Rather, it is a custom which was adopted by all Jews in Talmudic times. We therefore omit portions of the Hallel to serve as a distinction between this Hallel and the Hallels which are of Biblical or prophetic decree.

One reason the complete Hallel is not read on the last days of Passover is quite fascinating. On the last days of Passover the Egyptians met their death in the Red Sea, and it is inappropriate to sing a full version of G-d's praises on the anniversary of their death!
One of the reasons why we don't read the complete Hallel on the last days of Passover is quite fascinating. On the last days of Passover the Egyptians met their death in the Red Sea, and it isn't appropriate to be singing a complete version of G-d's praises on the anniversary of the date when his creations were dying. In other words, we celebrate the Jews' salvation, but we must never be happy when people are perishing - even if they are our sworn enemies!


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » General Information » Holiday Information

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.
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.
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.