Judaism 101

Learn the basics and gain confidence about Jewish holidays and traditions.

What is the Hallel?

By Josh Feigelson

Jewish Prayer of Praise

Hallel is a Jewish prayer that is recited in community as an act of praise and gratitude on holidays like Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot. Learn more about this powerful prayer in this video featuring Rabbi Josh Feigelson of  the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Hallel literally translates as “praise” and it is a way of expressing profound collective gratitude and praise to G-d. The Jewish prayer is comprised of five different psalms that all evoke imagines of transition, evolution and growth. First psalm is all about G-d’s power as creator. The second psalm evokes the historical experience of the Exodus where the Israelites experienced freedom for the first time from their Egyptian oppressors. The Exodus is the first instance of the Hallel. In the third psalm, we see a shift as the words center on the debt we owe G-d for saving us. The fourth psalm expresses joy appreciation and humility we feel towards G-d and the whole around us. The last psalm weaves together gratitude, memory and request.

This video was created at the Chicago Rabbinic Writers Lab, a program where 10 rabbis wrote Introduction to Tefillah videos in chevruta as a group. This series breaks down and explains major Jewish prayers so you can feel more knowledgeable and comfortable while attending a Jewish service.

Thank you to Joey Weisenberg & The Hadar Ensemble for use of Bina’s Nigun (Live) from the album Joey‘s Nigunim, Vol. III: Live in the Choir Loft.
Find more videos about Jewish prayers and blessings here.

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