Question: Should a blessing be recited upon reciting Hallel during Chol Ha’Moed Pesach? Furthermore, on Shabbat Chol Ha’Moed Pesach, should the blessings of the Amida prayer and Haftarah conclude with the words “Mekadesh Ha’Shabbat Ve’Yisrael Ve’Hazemanim” or just “Mekadesh Ha’Shabbat”?
Answer: Regarding Hallel, the Gemara (Arachin 10a) states that during every day of the Sukkot holiday, the complete Hallel is recited with a blessing. On the other hand, on Pesach, the complete Hallel with a blessing is only recited on the first day of the holiday (and the second as well, outside of Israel). However, on the days of Chol Ha’Moed, only the incomplete Hallel is recited without a blessing.
The Gemara questions what the difference is between Sukkot and Pesach regarding the Hallel and answers that whereas on Sukkot, every day had a different offering in the Bet Hamikdash (as the bulls offered in the Temple decreased sequentially every day) and thus, the complete Hallel was recited, on Pesach, however, the offering remained the same every day and therefore, the complete Hallel was recited only on the first day of the holiday.
We should explain that in terms of man himself, it would have been sufficient to recite Hallel once and it seems unnecessary to repeat it again and again. However, as times change, so does man, and it is therefore appropriate to recount Hashem’s goodness with him, for Hashem’s favors towards us change with time as well. Thus, regarding Sukkot where every day is different than the other, it is appropriate to recite the complete Hallel every day of the holiday. However, Pesach which resembles one long, unchanging day, requires recitation of the complete Hallel only on the first day. (See Maharsha, Berachot 10a)
It is for the above reason that Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 490, Section 4) rules that besides for the first day of Pesach, the incomplete Hallel is recited every subsequent day of the holiday. Similarly, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l (Responsa Chazon Ovadia, Volume 2, page 116) writes that the complete Hallel is recited only on the first day of Pesach and thus, the blessing on the Hallel is only recited on the first day and not on subsequent days of Pesach.
Regarding the conclusion of the blessings of the Amida on Shabbat Chol Ha’Moed, the Poskim write that only on the first and last days of Pesach and Sukkot as well as on Shavuot does one recite “Mekadesh Yisrael Ve’Hazemanim.” However, on Shabbat Chol Ha’Moed, only “Mekadesh Ha’Shabbat” is recited. Similarly, regarding the conclusion of the Haftarah on Shabbat Chol Ha’Moed, only “Mekadesh Ha’Shabbat” is recited. Nevertheless, the conclusion of the Mussaf Amida blessings on Shabbat Chol Ha’Moed is “Mekadesh Ha’Shabbat Ve’Yisrael Ve’Hazemanim.”
This is a moot point this year, 5782, when there is no Shabbat Chol Ha’Moed Pesach at all.