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The Music of Halacha: The Focus of Hallel Part Three

The Talmud teaches that there is actually a better Hallel than our Hallel! The title of this other Psalm of Hallel is Hallel Hagadol – The Great Hallel. Why is it considered the Great Hallel? Rabbi Yochanan explains that because the Psalm develops from one great idea to another and as it reaches its peak it praises God “Who provides bread for all flesh”. We praise God for His unlimited strength, for his role in history, for His great miracles, and for His awesomeness, and yet we consider His attention to each individual as the quality most deserving of praise. Rabbi Joshua ben Levi explains the title of The Great Hallel as based on its 26 verses, which correspond to the 26 generations of humanity before God gave the Torah – when we were granted the ability to earn existence – when the world existed entirely on God’s abundant mercy. The Maharal explains that it is not coincidental that the numerical value of God’s Ineffable Name – which represents His Unlimited Mercy – is 26. When do we sing Hallel Hagadol – The Great Hallel? The Talmud tells a story of Rabbi Tarfon: There had been a long drought in Lod and the community fasted every Monday and Thursday pleading for Divine Mercy. One day they fasted and it began to rain before noon. Rabbi Tarfon instructed his community to “eat, drink and celebrate a holiday!” Everyone went to celebrate, and towards evening they sang The Great Hallel. The Rashba , alone among all the Rishonim – early Halachic authorities – rules that Hallel Hagadol should always be recited in response to such a miracle. However most of the other Rishonim rule that we recite The Great Hallel only if the miracle occurred on the day we were fasting! We do not recite Hallel Hagadol if we fasted for rain on Monday and it only began to rain on Tuesday. We only recite Hallel Hagadol if you experience that moment in which your prayers are answered. We do not recite the Hallel if the positive response to our prayers is not immediate. We sing Hallel Hagadol when we immediately experience the power of our prayers with their direct cause and effect. These authorities hold that Hallel should be sung in a moment of heightened experience of God’s care, attention and love. Application: • Practice singing Hallel, without a blessing, when you experience an immediate response to a prayer so that you begin to associate it with that feeling. The Music of Halacha: The Focus of Hallel Part One The Music of Halacha: The Forms of Hallel Part One & Part Two Author Info: 

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