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Hallel Nirtzah: Reciting Hallel, Psalms of Praise; the Promise that G-d Will Accept Our Service

Hallel Nirtzah: Reciting Hallel, Psalms of Praise; the Promise that G-d Will Accept Our Service

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It is not the prevailing Lubavitch custom to make a point of completing the recitation of Hallel before midnight.

Hallel Nirtzah

Seemingly, the heading Nirtzahshould have been placed at the conclusion of the Haggadah. Indeed, we find that most authorities place it there. Nevertheless, the Alter Rebbe placed it in this position (the Rebbe).1

The Recitation of Hallel

The word Hallel relates to the expression behilo nero,2 “when his candle shone forth.” Hallel is recited on those occasions when G‑d’s truth shines forth into our material world (the Alter Rebbe).3

Generally, the Hallelis recited only during the day, for during the day — when G‑dly light is revealed — it is natural to praise Him. Nevertheless, on Pesach “the night shines as day,” and it is fitting to recite Hallel during the night as well (the Rebbe Rashab).4

Usually, the Rebbeim would not expound the Haggadahduring the second half of the Seder. The first half of the Seder refers to the redemption from Egypt. Since this is historical fact, there is the possibility of extensive elaboration. The second half refers to the Future Redemption. Since that Redemption is not yet manifest, the possibility for discussion is less (the Rebbe).5

לא Not for our sake, G‑d, not for our sake, but for Your Name’s sake, grant glory because of Your kindness and Your truth. Why should the nations say, “Where is their G‑d?” Our G‑d is in heaven, whatever He desires, He does. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have a mouth, but cannot speak; they have eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear; they have a nose, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel; they have feet, but cannot walk; they make no sounds with their throats. May those who make them be like them, all those who trust in them. Let Israel trust in G‑d, He is their help and shield. Let the House of Aharon trust in G‑d, He is their help and shield. Let the G‑d-fearing trust in G‑d, He is their help and shield.6

Why should the nations say, “Where is their G‑d?”

Because G‑d is above the material realm, many err and doubt His existence.They don’t realize that...

Our G‑d is in heaven,

and yet...

whatever He desires, He does

even in the material realm, His will is accomplished (the Alter Rebbe).7

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands

When he was a child of about six, the Mitteler Rebbe saw two of his father’schassidim with downcast expressions. Reb Shmuel Munkes, a chassid with whom the child was friendly, approached one of the cheerless chassidim and asked the reason for his low spirits.

The chassid explained that he was experiencing financial difficulties. The child ran to Reb Shmuel and told him: “Why ask the reason for his sadness? There is a verse which states the reason explicitly: “עצביהם כסף וזהב.”

The child was making a clever pun. The literal translation of עצביהם is “their idols,” but the word can also be rendered “their sadness,” and thus the phrase would mean: “their sadness is silver and gold.”

And the Mitteler Rebbe continued: “This leads to...

‘they have eyes, but cannot see’

they don’t appreciate how Divine Providence is manifest in their lives (the Previous Rebbe).8

יהוה G‑d, who is ever-mindful of us, will bless. He will bless the House of Aharon. He will bless those who fear G‑d, the small with the great. May G‑d increase [His blessings on] you, to you and to your children. Blessed are you by G‑d, Maker of heaven and earth. The heaven is the heaven of G‑d, but the earth He gave to the sons of man. The dead do not praise G‑d, nor do those who descend to silence. But we will bless G‑d, now and forever. Halleluyah!9

אהבתי I love G‑d because He hears my voice, my prayers. Because He turns His ear to me, I will call [upon Him] all my days. The pangs of death encompassed me; the suffering of the grave found me; I found difficulty and sorrow. And I called upon the Name of G‑d: “O G‑d, deliver my soul.” G‑d is kind and just; our G‑d has mercy. G‑d guards the simple; I was brought low, but He saved me. Return, my soul, to your rest, for G‑d has dealt kindly with you. You delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I will walk before G‑d in the world of the living. I had faith even when I said: “I suffer so greatly,” [even when] in my panic, I said: “All men are deceitful.”10

מה With what can I repay G‑d for all His kindness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of G‑d. I will pay my vows to G‑d, before all His people. Grievous in G‑d’s eyes is the death of His pious ones. I thank You, G‑d, that I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maid; You have unlocked my chains. I will offer You a thanksgiving sacrifice, and will call upon G‑d’s Name. I will pay my vows to G‑d, before all His people. In the courts of G‑d’s House, in the midst of Jerusalem. Halleluyah!11

הללו Let all nations praise G‑d; may all the peoples laud Him; For His kindness to us is overpowering, and the truth of G‑d is everlasting. Halleluyah!12

Let all nations praise G‑d;... For His kindness to us is overpowering

Why should the other nations praise G‑d because the Jews receive overwhelming kindness?

The question can be resolved as follows: The Jews are the medium through which G‑d manifests His light and life-giving energy within our world. When “His kindness to us is overpowering,” great blessings — and the consciousness of their spiritual source — will also be bestowed upon all mankind. Therefore the nations will praise Him (the Rebbe).13
The following verses are recited responsively. The leader begins by reciting: “Thank G‑d...” and the others respond: “Thank G‑d... Let Israel declare...” The leader, having repeated the verse “Thank G‑d...” together with the assembled, then says the second verse: “Let Israel declare....” Those present again respond by saying “Thank G‑d...” and proceed: “Let the House of Aharon declare...” The same procedure applies to the remaining two verses.

הודו Thank G‑d for He is good; His kindness is everlasting.

(Thank G‑d for He is good; His kindness is everlasting.)

Let Israel declare: His kindness is everlasting.

(Thank G‑d for He is good; His kindness is everlasting.)

Let the House of Aharon declare: His kindness is everlasting.

(Thank G‑d for He is good; His kindness is everlasting.)

Let those who fear G‑d declare: His kindness is everlasting.14

(Thank G‑d for He is good; His kindness is everlasting.)

מן In distress, I called to G‑d; G‑d answered me in abundance. G‑d is with me, I shall not fear; what can man do to me? G‑d is with me among my helpers, I will see [the downfall of] my enemies. It is better to rely on G‑d than to trust in man. It is better to rely on G‑d than to trust in nobles. All the nations surround me; I will cut them down in G‑d’s Name. They encircle me and surround me; I will cut them down in G‑d’s Name. They encircle me like bees, but they will be extinguished like flaming thorns; I will cut them down in G‑d’s Name. You [my foes] pushed me again and again to fall, but G‑d helped me. G‑d is my strength and my song; this has become my salvation. The voice of joy and salvation resounds in the tents of the righteous! G‑d’s right hand performs deeds of valor. G‑d’s right hand is exalted; G‑d’s right hand performs deeds of valor. I will not die; I will live and tell of G‑d’s deeds. G‑d chastised me repeatedly, but He did not hand me over to death. Open the gates of righteousness for me; I will enter and thank G‑d. This is the gate of G‑d; the righteous shall enter it.

(Each of the following four verses is said twice.)

אודך I will thank You for You answered me, and You became my salvation.

The stone discarded by the builders has become the cornerstone.

This is indeed from G‑d; it is a wonder in our eyes.

This is the day G‑d has made, we will rejoice and celebrate on it.15

The stone discarded by the builders has become the cornerstone

There are elements of existence which are “discarded” because of the low level on which they appear to be. This, however, is a mistake. Within these “low” elements lies hidden the potential for the highest and most powerful lights. When this inner potential is revealed, they become “the cornerstone,” a source of support for others (the Alter Rebbe).16
The following four lines are recited responsively, those assembled repeating each line after the leader:

אנא Please, G‑d, save us!

Please, G‑d, save us!

Please, G‑d, grant us success!

Please, G‑d, grant us success!17

(Each of the following four verses is said twice.)

ברוך Blessed be those who come in G‑d’s Name; we bless you from the House of G‑d.

Almighty is G‑d; He gives us light; bind the festive [offering] with cords until [you bring it to] the horns of the altar.

You are my G‑d and I thank You; my G‑d, I will exalt You;

Thank G‑d for He is good; His kindness is everlasting.18

יהללוך All Your works shall praise You, G‑d, our L‑rd. Your pious ones — the righteous who carry out Your will and all Your people, the House of Israel — with joyous song will give thanks, bless, praise, glorify, exalt, revere, sanctify, and crown Your Name, our King. For it is good to thank You, and it is pleasant to sing praise to Your Name, for from [the highest] world to [the lowest] world You are G‑d.

The following psalm is referred to as the Great Hallel. It contains 26 verses, the numerical equivalent of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d. The custom is to bear in mind the letter י [which equals ten] while reading the first ten verses, the letter ה [five] while reading the next five verses, the letter ו [six] while reading the next six verses, and the letter ה [five] while reading the final five verses.19

הודו Thank G‑d for He is good; His kindness is everlasting.

Thank the G‑d of the angels; His kindness is everlasting.

Thank the L‑rd of the heavenly hosts; His kindness is everlasting.

Who alone works great wonders; His kindness is everlasting.

Who makes the heaven with understanding; His kindness is everlasting.

Who spreads the land over the waters; His kindness is everlasting.

Who makes the great lights; His kindness is everlasting.

The sun to rule by day; His kindness is everlasting.

The moon and the stars to rule by night; His kindness is everlasting.

Who struck Egypt through their firstborn; His kindness is everlasting.

And delivered Israel from among them; His kindness is everlasting.

With a strong hand and outstretched arm; His kindness is everlasting.

Who split the Red Sea into sections; His kindness is everlasting.

And led Israel through it; His kindness is everlasting.

And who cast Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His kindness is everlasting.

Who led His people in the desert; His kindness is everlasting.

Who struck down great kings; His kindness is everlasting.

And killed mighty rulers; His kindness is everlasting.

Sichon, king of the Amorites; His kindness is everlasting.

And Og, king of Bashan; His kindness is everlasting.

He gave us their land as a heritage; His kindness is everlasting.

A heritage for Israel, His servant; His kindness is everlasting.

In our humiliation, He remembered us; His kindness is everlasting.

And saved us from our foes; His kindness is everlasting.

He gives bread to all flesh; His kindness is everlasting.

Thank the G‑d of heaven; His kindness is everlasting.20

Who alone works great wonders; His kindness is everlasting

Everything which G‑d performs is a great wonder. At times, however, these wonders are “work[ed] alone,” perceived only by G‑d Himself (the Baal Shem Tov).21

Our lack of understanding should not, however, dampen our thankfulness. We should have faith that “His kindness is everlasting,” bringing us good at all times (the Alter Rebbe).22

Who struck Egypt through their firstborn; His kindness is everlasting

Our Rabbis interpretthis to mean that the Egyptian firstborn struck at their own leaders, doing battle with Pharaoh. When they heard that Moshe had prophesied that all the Egyptian firstborn would die, they believed him, and tried to convince Pharaoh to release the Jews. When Pharaoh refused, they tried to wrest authority from him. In commemoration, we celebrate Shabbos HaGadol (“the Great Shabbos”), the anniversary of this event (the Alter Rebbe).23

One might ask: Of what significance is it to the Jews that one gentile wages war against another? This miracle, however, reflects the transformation of darkness to light. For it was the Egyptians’ firstborn, the power of their nation, who demanded the Jews’ release (the Rebbe).24

Who split the Red Sea into sections; His kindness is everlasting

The Red Sea was split into twelve passages, one for each of the tribes.25 This is representative of the spiritual reality which prevailed at that time. The tendency of the Sefirah of Malchus to withhold and limit Divine light was suppressed, and Malchus became a vehicle for Divine revelation. Since Malchus has twelve mediums of expression, the sea split in twelve paths (the Mitteler Rebbe).26

נשמת The soul of every living being shall bless Your Name, G‑d, our L‑rd, and the spirit of all flesh shall always glorify and exalt Your remembrance, our King. From the highest world to the lowest world, You are G‑d. Aside from You, we have no king who redeems and helps; who delivers and saves; who grants our needs and answers; who has mercy in all times of difficulty and stress. We have no King but You.

[You are] the G‑d of the first and last; G‑d of all creations, Master of all that happens, lauded by manifold praise. He controls His world with kindness and His creations with mercy. G‑d is awake; He does not sleep or slumber. He awakens those who sleep, arouses those who slumber. He makes the dumb speak, releases the bound, supports the fallen, and raises the bent over. To You alone we give thanks.

If our mouths were filled with song like the sea and our tongues filled with joyous song like the roar of its waves; if our lips were filled with praise as broad as the sky and our eyes as radiant as the sun and the moon; if our hands were spread out like the eagles of the sky and our feet could run as lightly as deer — we would still be unable to justly thank You, G‑d, our L‑rd, and L‑rd of our ancestors, or to bless Your Name for even one of the innumerable thousands and myriads of favors, miracles, and wonders You have wrought for ourselves and our fathers before us.

G‑d, our L‑rd, You delivered us from Egypt and rescued us from the house of bondage. When we were in hunger, You fed us; in plenty, You provided for us. You saved us from the sword, delivered us from the plague and spared us from severe and lasting maladies. Until now, Your mercies have helped us, and Your kindness has not abandoned us. May You, G‑d, our L‑rd, never forsake us.

Therefore, the limbs You have arranged within us, the breath and the soul You breathed into our nostrils, the tongue You placed in our mouths — all of them will thank, bless, be grateful, praise, glorify, exalt, adore, sanctify and crown Your Name, our King, at all times. Every mouth shall thank You, every tongue shall swear by You, every eye shall look to You, every knee shall bend to You. All who stand erect shall bow before You, every heart shall fear You, and every man’s innermost parts shall sing to Your Name, as it is stated:27 “All my bones shall say: ‘G‑d, who is like You? Savior of the poor from those stronger than they, of the poor and the indigent from those who would rob them.’ ”

Who resembles You? Who is equal to You? Who can compare to You, the great, mighty, and awesome G‑d? G‑d most high, Creator of heaven and earth! We will praise You, laud You, glorify You, and bless Your holy Name, as it is stated:28 “By David: May my soul bless G‑d and may all that is within me bless His holy Name.”

From the highest world to the lowest, You are G‑d

I.e., from the hidden, spiritual realms where G‑d’s light is too powerful for them to appreciated by others, to the open, revealed realms where He manifests Himself in creation, He is the only power (the Alter Rebbe).29

He does not sleep or slumber

When a person sleeps, by and large, his life energy is not revealed, and as evidenced by his dreams, what is revealed is often expressed in a disordered fashion. One might say that in the era of exile, the revelation of G‑dliness could be described by using the analogy of sleep — for less G‑dliness is seen to be revealed, and what is seen is not necessarily appreciated. Nevertheless, in truth, G‑d “does not slumber.” Although unperceived by us, His intent in the time of exile is to bring His deepest energies into revelation(Ibid.).30

He makes the dumb speak

The Sages of the Kabbalah ask: Why was Moshe “heavy of mouth, and heavy of tongue”?31 They explain that Moshe’s understanding was so profound that there was no way it could find adequate expression in this material world. On this basis, we can understand G‑d “mak[ing] the dumb speak.” He gives even those energies which are too high and refined to be expressed in our world the potential to be made manifest (Ibid.).32

Every knee shall bend to You, all who stand erect shall bow before You

These two phrases represent two different levels of divine service. “Bending the knee” implies a recognition of G‑d’s power. But while bending the knee the person’s eyes continue to look forward and his back remains straight, i.e., he retains his own way of thinking and his personal pride.“Bow[ing],”prostrating oneself, implies surrendering oneself to an overpowering experience that totally encompasses one’s being (Ibid.).33

Every heart shall fear You, and every man’s innermost parts shall sing to Your Name

When a person’s heart is permeated with the fear of G‑d, his happiness shines inwardly. Instead of exuberant celebration, the person glows with inner joy (Ibid.).34

All my bones shall say

The Torah is spiritual truth. Man’s responsibility is to integrate it into the framework of this world. This process begins with his own physical person. By investing his energy in the study of Torah and in prayer, he reverses the material inclination of his vital soul and transfers its power to the realm of holiness (Ibid.).35

האל G‑d in Your overpowering strength, great in the glory of Your Name, mighty forever, awesome through Your awe-inspiring deeds, the King who sits on a high and lofty throne!

שוכן He who lives for eternity, lofty and holy is His Name, and it is stated:36 “Let the righteous rejoice in G‑d. It befits the just to offer praise.” By the mouth of the just You are praised, and by the words of the righteous You are blessed. By the tongue of the pious You are exalted, and among the holy You are sanctified.

ובמקהלותAnd in the congregations of the myriads of Your people, the House of Israel, they glorify Your Name in song, our King, in every generation.

For this is the duty of every creation before You, G‑d, our L‑rd, and L‑rd of our fathers: to thank, praise, laud, glorify, exalt, beautify, bless, raise high, and sing praises; even beyond the songs and praises of David, the son of Yishai, Your servant, Your anointed.

ובכן And therefore may Your Name praised be forever, our King, the great and holy King in heaven and earth. These are forever fitting for You, our L‑rd and L‑rd of our fathers: song and praise, lauding and psalms, power and dominion, victory, greatness, and might, glory, splendor, holiness, and royalty, blessings and thanks to Your great and holy Name. From the highest world to the lowest, You are G‑d. Blessed are You, G‑d, Almighty King, magnified and extolled with praises, G‑d worthy of thanksgiving, Master of wonders, Creator of all souls, Ruler of all creatures, who chooses [to take pleasure] in songs of praise. You are the only King, the Life of [all] the worlds.

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

We drink the fourth cup of wine while reclining on our left side. It is customary to drink the entire cup, at the very least, a reviis (3.5 fluid ounces) must be drunk to justify the recitation of the blessing that follows drinking wine.37

One should not drink afterwards

In his Shulchan Aruch (481:1), the Alter Rebbe writes that on the second night there is no reason for this restriction, nor is there an obligation to heed it. Nevertheless, one who does not observe it “removes himself from the category of those who observe the mitzvos lovingly, and transgresses the directive of our Sages, who declared: ‘A person should never separate himself from [our people] as a whole.’ ”

Here we see a clear statement requiring the observance of Jewish custom even when there is no halachic imperative for such practice (the Rebbe).38

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, for the vine, for the fruit of the vine, for the crops of the field, for the desirous, good, and spacious land that You favored to give as a heritage to our ancestors, to partake of its fruits and be satisfied with its goodness. Have mercy, G‑d, our L‑rd, on Your people Israel, on Your city Jerusalem, on Zion the resting place of Your glory, on Your altar, and on Your Sanctuary.

And rebuild Jerusalem, the holy city, speedily in our days, and bring us up into it. Let us rejoice in it, and bless You in holiness and purity {on Sabbaths: and may it please You to strengthen us on this Sabbath day} and remember us for good on this day of the Feast of Matzos. For You, G‑d, are good and You benefit all, and we thank You for the land and for the fruit of the vine. Blessed are You, G‑d, for the land and for the fruit of the vine.

A person who is not able to drink wine and instead, used mead or other beverages for the four cups should recite the following blessing:

ברוך Blessed are You, G‑d, our L‑rd, King of the universe, Creator of numerous living beings and their needs, for everything You have created with which to sustain the soul of all living beings. Blessed is He who is the life of the worlds.

Next Year in Jerusalem!

L’shanah habaah is recited only once. It is not the prevailing Lubavitch custom to recite the concluding hymns which are to be found in most Siddurim and Haggados.

After saying לשנה הבאה בירושלים (“Next year in Jerusalem!”), the prevailing Lubavitch custom is for the wine from the Cup of Eliyahu to be poured back into the bottle. All those present sing א-לי אתה ואודך to the melody composed by the Alter Rebbe.
The Alter Rebbe did not include the passage Chasal Siddur Pesach (“The order of Pesach is concluded”) in his Haggadah because the Pesach Seder never truly ends. Instead, it continues throughout the year. The Pesach experience is constant. Every day, a Jew is leaving Egypt, transcending his previous limitations and reaching higher levels of holiness (the Previous Rebbe).39

Next year in Jerusalem!

The intent is not that we should have to wait until next Pesach for the Redemption. Instead, the Redemption will come immediately, so that next year, when we celebrate the Seder, we will be in Jerusalem (Ibid.).40

The Previous Rebbe once stated41 that his father, the
Rebbe Rashab, would be very careful regarding the way he accented the syllables of the phrase L’Shanah Habaah in the passage Hei Lachma Anya. He did not take such precise care with regard to the prayer L’Shanah Habaah BiYerushalayim. Here the proper grammar is not so important. What’s important is that next year, we will be in Jerusalem (the Rebbe).42
Footnotes
1.
Haggadah Shel Pesach Im Likkutei Taamim.
2.
Job 29:3.
3.
Torah Or, Mikeitz 30; Likkutei Torah, Shemini Atzeres 83a-b.
4.
Sefer HaMaamarim 5671, p. 66.
5.
Sichos Leil Rishon shel Chag HaPesach, 5712
6.
Psalms 115:1-11.
7.
Torah Or, Mikeitz 42a.
8.
Likkutei Dibburim, (English trans.) Vol. II, p. 44ff.
9.
Psalms 115:12-18.
10.
Psalms 116: 1-11.
11.
Psalms 116:12-19.
12.
Psalm 117.
13.
Sefer HaMaamarim Melukat, Vol. I, p. 109ff.
14.
Psalms 118:1-4
15.
Psalms 118:5-24.
16.
Likkutei Torah, Berochah 99d ff.
17.
Psalms 118:25
18.
Psalms 118:26-29.
19.
The allusion to the letters of G‑d’s Name is taken from the Alter Rebbe’s text of the Haggadah. Generally, the Alter Rebbe did not include Kabbalistic interpretations in his text. Thus the fact that he did so in this instance is worthy of notice.
20.
Psalm 136.
21.
As quoted in Sefer HaMaamarim 5704, p. 49.
22.
Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim 34a.
23.
Shulchan Aruch HaRav, ch. 430.
24.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVII, p. 57ff.
25.
Rashi, Psalms commenting on verse.
26.
Shaar HaEmunah, p. 93ff.
27.
Psalms 35:10.
28.
Psalms 103:1.
29.
Siddur Im Dach 193b.
30.
Siddur Im Dach 193d.
31.
Exodus 4:10.
32.
Siddur Im Dach 194a.
33.
Likkutei Torah, Sukkos 82b.
34.
Likkutei Torah, Vaes’chanan 8b.
35.
Tanya, ch. 37.
36.
Psalms 33:1.
37.
Shulchan Aruch HaRav 372:19.

One should not drink afterwards. Leniency is granted with regard to drinking water, but the custom is to refrain from drinking even that. The blessing after drinking wine is recited:
38.
Haggadah Shel Pesach Im Likkutei Taamim.
39.
Sefer HaSichos 5703, p. 75.
40.
Sefer HaSichos 5705, p. 83.
41.
Sichos leil Sheni shel Chag HaPesach, 5709 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5710, p. 185).
42.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 543.
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