Hallel: Rosh Chodesh Tammuz: Paragraph One: Ezekiel
The opening paragraph of Hallel is always the invitation to the Hallel that follows. It is the call to sing Hallel, and sets out the parameters of the Hallel to be sung:
Ezekiel: Reconnecting to God as Hallel Singers
Ezekiel is addressing a much different audience than was Jeremiah. Ezekiel begins with an awesome vision, a promise of what was still possible for the Jews to achieve in their relationship with God, even while in exile in Babylon. He was speaking to the first exiles from Jerusalem, people who found a home even in exile. The people were comfortable where they were and were losing their connection to Jerusalem and the Temple.
They are crushed by the impending doom of Jerusalem, and wonder whether this is the end of their relationship with God. In the midst of this tragedy, Ezekiel urges them to reconnect to God as Hallel singers, who can create new realities through singing Hallel: You will find prophecies specific to each verse in the background text postings.
Praise, you who serve God!”
Sing if you are still among those ‘who serve God.’
Your singing God’s praises even during these tragic times is a declaration that even those in exile are still Servants of God.
“Praise the Name of God.
Let the Name of God be blessed from now and forever.”
From sunrise to sundown, the Name of God is praised.
God is above all the nations. His Glory is beyond the sky.
Who is like God, our Lord, Who lives up high, but drops down to see what happens (to us) in the (lower) heaven and earth?
Who lifts up the lowly from the dust, raises the destitute from the garbage dumps to be seated with leaders, the leaders of their people.
Who Makes a home for the childless woman and joy for the mother of children. Hallelukah!”
I read this paragraph as Ezekiel calling on the Jews to reconnect to God as Hallel Singers, who still feel that they can impact the world through their Hallel. He is speaking to people such as those of us who comfortably live outside of Israel and do not experience the immediacy of the worry and pain of those who merit to live in the Holy Land. His message is that we must connect to our being Servants of God by becoming Hallel Singers, who sing before tragedy strikes, during times of tragedy, and after we are saved from suffering.