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On days that we recite Hallel, why do we do so before Keri’at HaTorah? Shouldn’t the Torah reading come first based on the rule that whenever two matters face us, we do the more frequent one first (tadir v’she’eino tadir, tadir kodem)?



Answer: The gaon Rabbi Tuviah Goldstein, zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Emek Halacha, writes in Responsa Emek Halacha (vol. 1:29), “As to the question of why we recite Hallel specifically [and immediately] after Shacharit:

“I have seen in the writings of Rabbi Yaakov Emden (Responsa Ya’avetz vol. 1:40) a discussion on whether one may eat prior to reciting Hallel. ‘Even regarding Shacharit, which is of greater gravity, it seems we don’t impose stringencies on tasting [drinking coffee or tea prior to davening]. Should the law be more stringent in this case when it’s even permissible to eat between Shacharit and Musaf?

“‘Rather, I must consider Hallel as being of greater import than Musaf in this matter. Now from where do I know this? From a mishnah (Rosh Hashanah 32b) that states, “The [Shacharit chazzan] recites Hallel” as it is a mitzvah to have it recited earlier [as a segment of] Shacharit. Thus, we see that Hallel belongs to Shacharit, not Musaf, and Shacharit is not considered complete until the conclusion of Hallel.’ Thus, concludes his [Rabbi Emden’s] words relevant to this matter.”

In regard to Tachanun, which Hallel replaces, the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1) states: “One should not speak between the Amidah and Tachanun.” This might be part of the general rule about not making a hefsek (interruption) between two tefillos.

Rabbi Goldstein also quotes from the Maharsham (Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Schwadron, zt”l, 1835-1911, Sefer Orchat Chayim 601:5): “Concerning Hallel, since it contains the message of pirsumei nisa (publicizing a miracle)…its recital is considered Biblically ordained. [The Gemara (Arachin 10b) gives as a Biblical source Isaiah 30:29: “Ha’Shir yihyeh lachem k’leil hitkadesh chag v’simchat levav – This song will be yours like the night of the festival’s consecration and heartfelt gladness.] Therefore, it should precede the Torah reading and Musaf.”

Rabbi Schwadron continues: “And I have found a Tosefta (Menachot, ch. 6) that [the Amidah of Shacharit] and Hallel restrain each other – meaning…Shacharit is dependant upon Hallel being recited and vice versa. Therefore, it’s forbidden to make any hefsek between them…. Similarly the shofar blasts restrain each other.” From these two authorities, Rabbi Emden and Rabbi Schwadron, we now know why we recite Hallel after Shacharit.

Rabbi Goldstein writes: “However, I don’t understand what Rabbi Schwadron says about…Hallel and tefillah restricting each another. He obviously means to say that if a person davened Shacharit but did not recite Hallel, he has not discharged his tefillah obligation. But this is very difficult to say.”

He cites the Minchat Bikurim to the Tosefta who explains the Tosefta to mean something very different – namely, that if a person doesn’t know part of Hallel, he shouldn’t say it at all, as is the case with the Amidah. (What he should do is listen with great intent to the chazzan who will discharge his requirement to recite these two tefillot.)

It’s obvious that the explanation of Rabbi Emden, based on Rosh Hashanah 32b, is why we recite Hallel immediately after the Shacharit Amidah. Indeed, the same chazzan who leads Shacharit leads Hallel. In some synagogues, I have seen a different person go to the amud to lead Hallel. Based on the above, this practice seems improper.

May we continue to sing the praises of Hashem for many festivals and roshei chodashim to come and in that merit witness the ingathering and redemption of our people, speedily in our days.


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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.