Halacha for Tuesday 11 Nissan 5778 March 27 2018

Hallel on the Night of Pesach-The Laws Regarding Men and Women

The Tosefta (Chapter 3 of Sukkah) states: “There are eighteen days and one night throughout the year when the (complete) Hallel is recited, as follows: The eight days of the Sukkot holiday, the eight days of Chanukah, the first day of Pesach as well as the first night of Pesach, and on the holiday of Shavuot.” Our Sages in Masechet Sofrim (Chapter 20, Halacha 9) states: “It is especially worthy to recite the Hallel pleasantly in order to fulfill the verse, ‘And let us exalt His name together.’”

The above serves as the source for Sephardic Jews and the Jews of Israel who customarily recite the complete Hallel with its blessings on the first night of Pesach following the Arvit Amida prayer. Indeed, the Tur (Chapter 473) states: “How good and pleasant is the custom of reciting the Hallel along with the congregation in the synagogue on the first night of Pesach with its blessings; there is indeed a source for this custom in Masechet Sofrim.”

Clearly, reciting Hallel on the night of Pesach is because of the miracle of the exodus from Egypt which is the time when Hashem delivered us from slavery to freedom, as the Talmud Yerushalmi (Pesachim, Chapter 5, Halacha 5): “Rabbi Levi said: On that night, Hashem made Pharaoh’s voice resound throughout the entire land of Egypt and he said, ‘Get up and leave from the midst of my nation! Until now, you were the slaves of Pharaoh. From this point on, you are now Hashem’s slaves!” At that moment, the Jewish nation began to praise Hashem and said, “Praise Hashem! Praise, oh servants of Hashem and not the servants of Pharaoh.” Indeed, in every generation, one must envision as though he himself has left Egypt.

Another reason for reciting the Hallel on the night of Pesach is because when the Jewish nation was in Egypt, they recited the Hallel while slaughtering the Pesach offering. This custom quoted by the great Acharonim and Mekubalim who speak lengthily about the virtues of reciting the Hallel on the night of Pesach before Kiddush. Several Ashkenazi luminaries observed this custom as well, including the great Noda Bi’huda (Hagaon Rabbeinu Yechezkel Ha’Levi Landau, head of the rabbinical court in Prague) who would recite the Hallel following Arvit prayers although the custom of the people of that city was not to recite Hallel on the night of Pesach in accordance with the ruling of the Rama. (See Teshuva Me’Ahava, Chapter 90)

Regarding all other holidays, women do not recite a blessing before and after reciting the Hallel, for Hallel is considered positive, time-bound Mitzvah which women are exempt from performing based on the words of the Tosafot (Sukkah 38a). Nevertheless, on the first night of Pesach when women are obligated in all of the Mitzvot of the Seder night in the same manner as men, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes (in his Responsa Yechave Da’at, Volume 5, Chapter 34) that women are likewise obligated to recite the complete Hallel along with its blessings before Kiddush, i.e. before the Seder begins. This is actually the only time of year that Sephardic women may recite a blessing on the Hallel and they must recite it completely along with its blessings, beginning and end, since they were also included in this miracle and they are likewise obligated in all of the Mitzvot of the Seder night. Indeed, in the merit of righteous women, we were redeemed from the bondage of Egypt and in the merit of righteous women shall we merit the Ultimate Redemption!

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Lighting Chanukah Candles on Motza’ei Shabbat and Electric Chanukah Candles

On Motza’ei Shabbat Chanukah, in the synagogue, Chanukah candles are lit first and only following this is Havdala recited in order to delay the departure of Shabbat as much as possible. Although the one lighting the Chanukah candles removes the sanctity of Shabbat from himself, nevertheless, t......

Read Halacha

The Proper Time to Light Chanukah Candles

One should preferably light Chanukah candles immediately when the stars appear in the sky, which is approximately fifteen minutes after sunset during this time of year. Some Ashkenazim, however, customarily light at sunset. The Earliest Possible Time to Light Chanukah Candles Chanukah candles sh......

Read Halacha

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha

The Proper Time for Lighting Chanukah Candles On Erev Shabbat

Praying Mincha Before Lighting Candles On the Friday afternoon of Chanukah, it is preferable to pray Mincha before lighting the Chanukah candles. The reason for this is because the Mincha prayer was established in the place of the daily “Tamid” sacrifice that was brought in the Bet Hami......

Read Halacha


The Obligation of Women Regarding Chanukah Candles

Although women are generally exempt from all positive, time-bound Mitzvot, such as the Mitzvah of Shofar on Rosh Hashanah and Sukkah and Lulav on Sukkot, they are nevertheless obligated to light Chanukah candles, for they were also included in the miraculous salvation of the Jewish nation on the hol......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Women and Zimun

We have explained the primary laws of Zimun that if three men eat a bread meal together, they must perform a Zimun before reciting Birkat Hamazon. This is done by the leader proclaiming, “Nevarech She’Achalnu Mishelo” and the others replying, “Baruch She’Achalnu Mishelo......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Zimun

The Mishnah in Masechet Berachot (45a) states that three who have eaten a bread meal together must perform a “Zimun” before reciting Birkat Hamazon. “Zimun” is performed by one of the three reciting, “Nevarech She’Achalnu Mishelo” at which point the others a......

Read Halacha

Embarking on a Sea Voyage on a Jewish Vessel on Shabbat

Question: May one board an Israeli ship whose captain and crew are mostly Jewish if one knows that the voyage will continue on Shabbat as well? Answer: Boarding a Ship Traveling on Shabbat The law of boarding a ship when one knows that the ship will be in the middle of the sea on Shabbat is ......

Read Halacha