Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Question: Why, if on Rosh Hashana the shofar is blown during Musaf, is Hallel on the festivals and Rosh Chodesh read during Shacharit?

L. Freund
Via Email



Answer: Your question relates to the Mishna and Gemara (Rosh Hashana 32b) where this is discussed. The Mishna states: Of those who pass before the Ark [to lead the services – the Ba’al Shacharit and the Ba’al Musaf], it is during the latter’s service that we blow the shofar. On days when we recite Hallel, it is recited by the first [the Ba’al Shacharit] who reads it aloud [with the congregation in tow].

The Gemara asks – Why does the second Ba’al Tefillah, the one who leads Musaf [or the specially designated Ba’al Toke’a], blow, and not the first [the Ba’al Shacharit]? The Gemara offers a verse from Mishlei (Proverbs 14:28): “B’rov am hadrat Melech – In the presence of the multitude is the glory of the king.”

The obvious implication is that there is a greater attendance at the Musaf service than at the earlier Shacharit. The Gemara seeks to understand why Hallel is recited by the first Ba’al Tefillah – the Ba’al Shacharit:Now perhaps you might say, ‘Zerizin u’makdimin l’mitzvot – Those who are more zealous come early for the performance of mitzvot. If so, then we should consider the same for the blowing of the shofar, and it should be blown during Shacharit.’

The Gemara responds that this was due to an edict of the Sages; at the time that the ruling authorities forbade doing so [blowing the shofar – however, as Rashi explains, the heathen enemies kept watch during the entire first six hours of the day after which they departed, thus the Sages instituted to blow at Musaf].

Therefore, we see that the Gemara does follow the rule of zerizin u’makdimin as applying to all mitzvah observances, but that the mitzvah of shofar was an exception. Therefore, Hallel is recited correctly immediately after the Amida of Shacharit as a part of that prayer.

We also find that on Chanukah, where there is no Musaf [except on Rosh Chodesh Teves], we would have no alternative but to say Hallel immediately after the Shacharit Amida. Therefore, we might consider the concept of “lo plug – that when our Sages issued an edict they did so in a manner that served all circumstances.

In Responsa Emek Halacha (Vol 1:29) the Gaon Rabbi Tuviah Goldstein discusses this matter. He cites a related halacha from HaGaon Rabbi Yaakov Emden (Responsa Ya’avetz, Vol 1:40) who writes on the matter of whether one is permitted to drink before he recites Hallel. He says; “And even as regards the Shacharit prayer, which we treat with great stringency, it would seem that we are nonetheless lenient in regard to drinking beforehand.” He says even further: “Who says it should be worse than eating in between Shacharit and Musaf? [And I do remember during my years in the great Mirrer Yeshiva that the Roshei Yeshiva not only sanctioned our eating between Shacharit and Musaf on Rosh Hashana, but served up a kiddush as well, with kokosh cake, wine, soda and other edibles so that we have the strength to properly daven Musaf.]

Thus, how could it be that we are so strict as to forbid drinking between Shacharit [Amida] and Hallel, which is what we imply from the Mishna (Rosh Hashana 32b) that we cited above, that it is to be recited immediately after we conclude the Shacharit Amida, without any break in between.

Therefore, it must be that Hallel is to be considered as an integral part of Shacharit, and Shacharit [Amida] is not concluded until we conclude the Hallel [then recite the Kaddish – whole or half depending on the circumstance].

Rabbi Goldstein now cites Rabbi Sholom Schwadron (cited in Orchos Chayyim 601 sk 5; see also Turei Aven to Rosh Hashana 32b; ad loc.) who says: “Hallel, since it is a matter of Pirsumei Nisa – publicizing the miracle – it is considered as a biblical mitzvah and therefore it is prioritized before K’riat HaTorah – the Torah reading and Musaf.

Rabbi Goldstein notes further: “I have also found in the Tosefta (to Menachot chap. 6) that Tefillah [Shacharit] and Hallel restrain each other [i.e., they are so inter-connected and dependent on each other] that one may not interrupt between them except for a matter that is necessary for the prayer, such as taking the etrog and lulav on Sukkot and the blessings recited over them, just as one is not allowed to make any interruption [even speaking speak] in the midst of the shofar blowing. Thus, we see clearly from these Sages why we recite the Hallel immediately after Shacharit.

Rabbi Goldstein now wonders: “What does Rabbi Schwadron mean when he says they restrain each other; does he mean that where one failed to recite Hallel that he did not discharge his obligation of Tefillah? This is a matter that requires further examination.”

He notes that the commentary Minchat Bikurim to the Tosefta (Menachot, cited above) states: “Hallel means the complete order of the Hallel, and if he does not [do] a part of it, he is not to recite it at all, similarly the Amida – the Shemoneh Esreh [if he does not know part of it better not to pray].”

We thus see numerous reasons why Hallel specifically follows the Shacharit Amida. This is the universally accepted formulation of our tefillot.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleParshat Vayechi – Tribes United for a Mission
Next articleReport: Rabat Conditions Israel Embassy on Recognition of Moroccan Sovereignty over Occupied Western Sahara
Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.