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Rav Hirsch: Hallel Overview

Psalm 113 emphasizes the difference of the concept of God cherished by the Jewish people from that held by the rest of the world. Psalm 114 deals with the historic election and destiny of Israel, which is to enter into the course of history of the nations of the earth as God’s holy people with its unique concepts and worship of Him.

Psalm115 discusses the ideas and ideals with which our obvious differences from the other nations must imbue us even when we dwell in their midst.

Psalm 116 proclaims that unshakeable trust which we should derive, both for the present and for all time to come, from all the dangers we have experienced and which we have overcome only through God’s help. This unalterable trust should serve to sustain us constantly, regardless of the perils that the future may bring.

At the same time, we are reminded that our miraculous survival qualifies and obliges us to an ever growing extent to discharge our ordained task, namely, as messengers of God, to call upon men and nations to recognize God and to worship Him. Such a call to the nations is contained in the two verses of Psalm 117.

To this is joined Psalm 118, calling upon all people who thus return to God to join the Jewish nation in its homage to Him, and, looking back upon the events of Jewish history now taking place before their vey eyes, to adopt those convictions regarding the rule of God and the calling of mankind, which make all people enter into the gates of the Jewish Sanctuary and worship as their “God: that God Whose Law is taught there.

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