Hallel: Ma’ariv Pesach: Consecration V
We sing the fifth paragraph as part of the song that will make us free, as if we were singing while offering the original Pesach Offering, the mitzvah that earned us the merit to be freed:
“During those many days, it happened that the King of Egypt died, and the Children of Israel groaned because of their work and they cried out. Their outcry because of the work went up to the Lord. The Lord heard their moaning, and the Lord remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. The Lord saw the Children of Israel; and the Lord knew (Exodus 2:23-24).” It was inevitable as the people were offering their Pesach and preparing for freedom, singing as they looked ahead, that they would remember when they were not singing, but crying. They recalled their desperation and realized that God had listened to their prayers, and responded.
That realization at that moment, that sense that God listens to prayer, “I have indeed seen the affliction of My people that is in Egypt and I have heard its outcry (3:7),” inspired them to sing:
“I love that God hears the voice of my prayers, that I am listened to when I call!
Ropes of death strangled me and alleys of the grave found me; I discovered trouble and sadness.
So, I called out in the Name of God: Please God, rescue my soul!
God is proper and just. Our Lord shows compassion. God defends the simple.
I was lowered but then saved.
My soul, return to your place of comfort, for God weaned you with kindness.
For You saved my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my legs from tripping.
I walk before God in the lands of the living.
I kept faith even when I thought that I was destitute,
even when I rushed to say that all people are liars.”
We have just finished Ma’ariv; our evening prayer, something we do on a regular basis. We almost take for granted that God listens to our prayers, day after day, three times each day. We now sing the Hallel as they sang their Hallel while offering their Pesach; when the idea of God listening and responding to prayer was shocking and new. We sing with the same joy over the prayers we have just recited.