Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
We praise Hashem by saying Hallel on every Yom Tov – every Yom Tov, that is, except Purim. Why? The Gemara on our daf asks this question and suggests numerous answers. One is based on the rule that after Bnei Yisrael conquered Eretz Yisrael, Hallel is not recited for any miracle that occurs outside of it. Since the miracle of Purim occurred in Persia, Hallel is not recited on this Yom Tov.
R. Nachman offers a different answer. He suggest that reading the Megillah in itself is a form of praising Hashem since it relates all the miracles He did in saving us from Haman. Thus, saying Hallel is superfluous and thus unnecessary.
Vassals Of Ahasuerosh
Rava notes that Hallel contains the words “Halleluka, halelu avdei Hashem – A praise to Hashem; servants of Hashem sing praises,” and we cannot say these words regarding the miracle of Purim because even after we were saved from Haman we still remained vassals of Ahasuerosh.
The Requirement Of The Day
The Meiri sees a practical difference between these reasons. According to R. Nachman, if a person is unable to read or hear the Megillah on Purim, he must say Hallel instead in order to fulfill his requirement to praise Hashem. (The Meiri, in fact, rules this way.) According to the other reasons mentioned in the Gemara, one would never recite Hallel on Purim.
A Surprise Ruling
The Sha’arei Teshuva (Orach Chayim 693:3) disagrees with the Meiri. He submits that since the sages never instituted the recitation of Hallel on Purim, it may not be recited even if one doesn’t hear the Megillah.
However, he notes that numerous authorities, amongst them the Behag (Ba’al Halachos Gedolos) and Rambam, offer R. Nachman’s answer that reading the Megillah is how we praise Hashem on Purim, implying that sans Megillah, one should perhaps say Hallel instead.
He concludes that if a person decides to say Hallel, he should skip the blessings before and after it. Without the blessings, Hallel is just chapters of Tehillim and one may certainly say Tehillim on Purim. He writes that a person should do so even if he has a printed Megillah at his disposal since Chazal’s takannah was to read the Megillah from a scroll. Without a scroll, one is not reading the Megillah the way Chazal intended.
About the Author: RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.
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