There are numerous opinions in the Gemara, in Maseches P’sachim, as to who authored these chapters of T’hilim (113-118), which comprise what we refer to as “Hallel.” It has been suggested that there is really no dispute in the Gemara. The basic framework was established by the early Prophets and later enhanced by successive generations. Eventually, David HaMelech organized these chapters into the final form we have today in T’hilim (T’shuvah MeiAhavah, Vol. II, responsa 264).


Hallelukah, Hallelu avdei Hashem, Hallelu es sheim Hashem.

(All of klal Yisrael) praise Hashem (that is, the Name that signifies that He created the worlds with a yud and a hei). Praise (Him) especially, you servants of Hashem (who went out of Mitzrayim and saw this clearly, (and) praise the full Name of Hashem [hvy”h] since you witnessed Its greatness by the Makos in Mitzrayim. [Pathway to Prayer Siddur, by Rabbi Mayer Birnbaum]

Avdei Hashem refers to all of B’nei Yisrael. Midrash Shocher Tov relates that the B’nei Yisrael sang Hallel after the last plague. Pharaoh was awakened by cries of all the Egyptian homes whose first-borns were dying. He pleaded with Moshe and Aharon to leave immediately! They replied that he would have to issue an official proclamation of emancipation in order for the plague to end. Pharaoh responded by shouting: “In the past you were my slaves, but now you are free men! You are on your own, you are servants of G-d, so you must give praise, you servants of Hashem!”

Y’hi sheim Hashem m’vorach, mei’atah v’ad olam

Blessed be the Name of Hashem, from this time and forever.

We express our desire and tefilah to see the entire world recognize that Hashem is the source of blessing now and forever.

Mi’mizrach shemesh ad m’vo’o, m’hullal sheim Hashem.

From the rising of the sun to its setting, Hashem’s name is praised.

Ram al kol goyim, Hashem, al ha’shamayim k’vodo.

High above all nations is Hashem, above the heavens is His glory.

Mi kaShem Elokeinu, ha’magbihi lashaves, ha’mashpili lir’os ba’shamayim u’va’aretz?

Who is like Hashem, our G-d, Who is enthroned on high – yet deigns to look upon the heaven and the earth?

These three p’sukim convey the vast difference in how we relate to Hashem vs. how the nations of the world relate. “High above all nations is Hashem.” To the nations of the world, Hashem is only exalted way up high, and it is beneath Him to have anything to do with this world. However, to us, He is “Elokeinu” – our G-d – Hashem is “ha’mashpili lir’os ba’shamayim u’va’aretz – [He] deigns to look upon the heaven and the earth.” To Hashem, heaven and earth are equal. He has to lower Himself either way. We understand that Hashem is involved in every detail of our lives, both nationally and individually.

T’hilim 99:2 states: “For us (“Zion”), Hashem is Gadol, like a tower (migdol) which has its feet on the ground, but the top of the ladder is in the highest place of the Universe. Hashem is most exalted beyond our comprehension. At the same time, He controls and guides every detail in our lives. To the nations, He is “ram.” Just exalted way above, without any connection to this world.


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