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Hallel consists of six Psalms (113-118), which are said as a unit, on joyous occasions. On those occasions, Hallel is usually chanted aloud as part of Shacharit (the morning prayer service) following the Shacharit's Shemoneh Esreh ("The Eighteen", the main prayer). It is also recited during the evening prayers the first night of Passover, except by Lithuanian and German Jews, and by all communities after the Grace after Meals in the Passover Seder service.
These occasions include the following: The three pilgrim festivals: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot (the "major" Jewish holy days, mentioned in the Torah) and Hanukkah and Rosh Chodesh (beginnings of the new month). Many Jewish communities, especially those that identify with religious Zionism, recite Hallel on Yom Ha'atzma'ut (Israeli Independence Day). Some also recite it on Yom Yerushalayim (commemorating the re-unification of Jerusalem in 1967).
On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Hallel is not said at all, because as the Talmud states (Arachin 10b): "Is it seemly for the king to be sitting on His Throne of Judgment, with the Books of Life and Death open before Him, and for the people to sing joyful praises to Him?"
Pesach, like Sukkot, has the structure of "main holiday," followed by "Intermediate Days" (Chol ha-Moed), followed by "main holiday." Since Passover involved only a partial redemption of the Jews and the destruction of Egypt, only "Half" (or Partial) Hallel is recited on all of the last six days of Pesach. Full Hallel is recited for the entirety of Sukkot.
Partial Hallel is recited on Rosh Chodesh because it was introduced at a much later time than the major holidays.
No Hallel, neither "Full" nor "Partial," is recited on Purim, despite the fact that there was a miraculous salvation, for several reasons:
Hallel is said in one of two forms: Full Hallel and Partial Hallel.
Full Hallel (or הלל שלם Hallel Shalem in Hebrew Complete Hallel) consists of all six Psalms of the Hallel, in their entirety. It is a Jewish prayer recited on all seven days of Sukkot, on Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah), on Shavuot, on the first two days of Pesach (only the first day in Israel), and on the eight days of Hanukkah.
Full Hallel consists of: Psalm 113, Psalm 114, Psalm 115:1-11,12-18, Psalm 116:1-11,12-19, Psalm 117, Psalm 118.
A blessing is recited at the beginning and end of Full Hallel.
Chatzi Hallel (חצי הלל Half Hallel or Partial Hallel) ("chatzi is "half" in Hebrew) does not include parts of the "Full Hallel": verses 1-11 of Psalm 115, nor those verses from Psalm 116. It is recited on the last six days of Pesach and on Rosh Chodesh.
While Ashkenazi Jews recite a blessing at the beginning and end of Partial Hallel, some Sephardi Jews do not, particularly if the blessing they recite at the beginning of Full Hallel is ligmor et hahallel (to complete the Hallel) instead of likro et hahallel (to read the Hallel) as recited by Ashkenazi Jews.
Psalms from the Hallel have been set to music many times,
American composer and conductor Michael Isaacson has composed A full Hallel for SATB Chorus entitled An American Hallel with interpolations of expressions of praise and gratitude by past and present Americans. It is to be premiered by the Carolina Master Chorale under the directorship of Tim Koch in the Fall of 2009
Composer/performer Sam Glaser has also set the Psalms on his new CD Hallel
The name "Hallel" is normally applied to Psalms 113-118. For greater specificity this is sometimes called the "Egyptian Hallel".
Psalm 136 is sometimes called the "Great Hallel", as it reprises the refrain of Ps. 118 "Hodu l'A. ki tov, ki le'olam hhasdo" (Thank the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever). Another Hallel sequence, forming part of the pesukei de-zimrah in the morning prayers, consists of Psalms 145 to 150.
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praise, the name given to the group of Psalms 113-118, which are preeminently psalms of praise. It is called "The Egyptian Hallel," because it was chanted in the temple whilst the Passover lambs were being slain. It was chanted also on other festival occasions, as at Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles, and the feast of Dedication. The Levites, standing before the altar, chanted it verse by verse, the people responding by repeating the verses or by intoned hallelujahs. It was also chanted in private families at the feast of Passover. This was probably the hymn which our Saviour and his disciples sung at the conclusion of the Passover supper kept by them in the upper room at Jerusalem (Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26).
There is also another group called "The Great Hallel," comprehending Psalms 118-136, which was recited on the first evening at the Passover supper and on occasions of great joy.
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