Hallel on the Night of Pesach

By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Posted on 03/23/21

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The Shulchan Aruch in siman taf peh zayin, seif daled writes that we recite the complete Hallel with a bracha at the beginning and end of the first night of Pesach. In the diaspora the same would apply for the second night of Pesach. The Rema says that our minhag is not to say Hallel in Shul. We need to understand the reason for this argument. In addition, we need to understand how Hallel could be said during the seder which takes place at night when the Gemara in Megillah daf chof, amud bais says that we only say Hallel during the day. 

The Yerushalmi in Meseches Brachos at the end of the first perek says that the minhag was to say Hallel twice in Shul. The people would start Hallel in Shul, then they’d go home and do all the mitzvos of the seder; eat matza and drink wine, and then they returned to Shul to finish Hallel. As a result of this minhag, and a desire not to cause anyone extra hardship, it was established that Hallel be said once in Shul and the second time it is repeated at home during the Seder. The Tosefta in Pesachim, Perek Yud, mishna heh echos the Yerushalmi. We see from the Yerushalmi that the Hallel that was read in Shul was with a bracha and with that bracha they exempted the Hallel said at home so there was no need to make a bracha at home. 

The Rishonim have a machlokes whether one says a bracha on the Hallel of Pesach night. The Rashba says that one should make a bracha; however, Rav Tzemach Gaon and the Ritz Geis say one should not make a bracha since the Hallel is split. (The first section is said during Magid and the second section said after the meal.) Rav Hai Gaon held that anyone who wants to make a bracha is quieted, “meshaskin oso.” Rav Hai Gaon does say that those who say Hallel in Shul and say the complete Hallelshould make the brachos

The question arises concerning those who say the complete Hallel in Shul; why do they repeat the Hallel during the Seder? The Meiri explains that they used to say Hallel in Shul during the daylight before Yom Tov as a zecher to the saying of the Hallel during the Shechitas Pesach which was done while reciting Hallel. Based on this premise we could say that the saying of Hallel in Shul is not as a zecher to the Hallel Bnei Yisroel said while eating the Korban Pesach, but rather a zecher to the Hallel said while sacrificing the Pesach. We see that there are two reasons for saying Hallel on the night of Pesach: for the hakrovas Pesach and the Achilas Pesach

With this explanation we can understand why the Gemara in Eiruchim, daf yud, amud alef counts all the times we say Hallel during the year, but does not count the Hallel of Pesach night. The reason for this is that Hallel that is said on a regular Yom Tov, such as Chanuka, is as a result of the day of Yom Tov or the miracle that happened on that day. In contrast, the Hallel we say on the night of Pesach is a din of matzah which Chazal say is “lechem oni” bread. Part of the mitzvah of eating matza is praising Hashem while eating it. Therefore, the chiyuv of Hallel is not because of the day of Yom Tov, but rather a result of matza and the Korban Pesach. This is the reason it needs to be said “beshaa shemunchim hem lefanav”(while the matza is laying in front of him.) Understanding what was discussed above helps to answer the Brisker Rovs question. The Brisker Rov asks, what was the hava amina of the Baal Hagada that we should say Hallel and Hagada during the day of the 14th of Nissan? The whole din only comes as a result of Yom Tov, which is on the 15th of Nissan? Understanding that part of the chiyuv of reading the Hallel was a zecher to the hakrava of Pesach which took place on the 14th, it stands to reason that there would be a hava amina to say Hallel during the day. The Baal Hagada therefore tells us that Hallel needs to be said while the matza is in front of the person. 

Let us be zocheh to say Hallel while we are makriv the Korban Pesach

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