Posts Tagged ‘Hallel’

24
Dec

Hallel Rosh Chodesh Tevet Part Two

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Paragraph Four:

“Neither the dead can praise the Creator, nor any who descend into silence; but we will bless the Creator from this time and forever (Psalm 115:18).”

God had warned the inhabitants of Jerusalem, through Jeremiah, that the Babylonians would be coming, and that they would be victorious. God instructed them to repent and to leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians.

The people refused to listen to Jeremiah. They preferred death to surrender.

This paragraph of the Hallel is a celebration of the potential of life, “the dead cannot praise the Creator.” The inhabitants of Jerusalem were so devastated by all that happened since the Babylonians rose to power, that they lost their connection to life. They ceased to see that alive, they would have the opportunity to rebuild. They stopped believing that alive, they could still live a life of blessing.

Once they disconnected from the potential of life; they disconnected from God as the Creator of heaven and earth.

On Hanukkah, our souls vibrate with the potential of life, and of purpose. On Hanukkah we connect to life at its source; God. On Hanukkah we sing this paragraph as a celebration of life, potential, and blessing, so that we will never allow ourselves to stand as those people did so long ago in Jerusalem.

Paragraphs Five & Six

In this paragraph and the next, King David is expressing gratitude for deliverance. When he thought he was at death’s door, he cried out to God. He expresses his gratitude through the medium of praise in the presence of an assembled congregation, and that what appears to be a private event, is inseparable from the life of the community. All the people share each other’s joys and sorrows, and so, King David summons them to celebrate with him.

This is the theme of this paragraph of the Hallel, Psalm 116, as it is the theme of the Hanukkah Psalm # 30.

Both these Psalms were part of our liturgy even as the Babylonian hordes approached Jerusalem. Imagine how different the story would have been if only we had reconnected to King David’s voice reminding us of the power of prayer, the impact of repentance, and the promise to express our gratitude to God upon salvation!

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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24
Dec

Hallel: Rosh Chodesh Tevet: Part One

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

This Rosh Chodesh Hallel is unusual in that we recite the complete Hallel, rather than skipping the first half of Psalm 115 and that of Psalm 116, because it is also Hanukkah.

It is unusual in another sense, as we are singing with the full joy of the Festival, even though in just a few days we will be fasting to commemorate the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem just before the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem surely knew that the Babylonian army was on its way to attack.

We will be commemorating other tragedies that occurred during this Hebrew month, such as the deaths of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the translation of the Torah into Greek for Ptolmey.

First Paragraph:

We sing this Hallel with full joy despite knowing that we will soon be commemorating this series of tragedies. This Hallel surely falls into the category of the Hallel we must sing before tragedy strikes.

“From the rising of the sun to its setting, God’s Name is praised (Psalm 113:3).” Although we know that it is not the sun that is circling the Earth, it is certainly the way it appears to our eyes: As if, we are circled by the sun; it surrounds us as a siege surrounds a city. This reminds us of another verse in Psalms, “Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains, and God surrounds His people, from now and forever (125:2).”

We sing this paragraph of the Hallel with full confidence that even though armies may come and surround Jerusalem, laying siege to it, God surrounds them and will protect us.

We take the joy of the Chanukah miracle with confidence and project it into the future and rejoice that the same Divine Guidance that protected us during the Chanukah story, will protect us during the coming month.

Second Paragraph

The theme of this paragraph of the Hallel is: Just as we were redeemed from Egypt, so too, will we be redeemed from the Babylonian exile. The Exodus was not just something that happened in our great history; it became part of our very nature and reality. It is part of our being.

It was the Exodus that gave us the power to fight against the Greeks and win the Chanukah victory.

It was the Exodus that empowered us to survive the Babylonian exile with confidence that we would return to Jerusalem.

It is the Exodus that empowers us to continue to survive despite all our troubles with the confidence that He, “Who turns the rock into a pond of water, the flint into a flowing fountain,” will transform everything around us so that we may return to Him in full glory.

Third Paragraph:

The word came to Jeremiah from God when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: “Inquire now of God for us because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps God will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.”

But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah, ‘This is what God, the Lord of Israel, says:

I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city.

I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath.

I will strike down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague.

After that, declares God,

I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.’

“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what God says:

See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.

Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague.

But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives.

I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares God.

It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’

“Moreover, say to the royal house of Judah, ‘Hear the word of God.

This is what God says to you, House of David:

“‘Administer justice every morning;

rescue from the hand of the oppressor

the one who has been robbed,

or my wrath will break out and burn like fire

because of the evil you have done—

burn with no one to quench it.

I am against you, Jerusalem,

you who live above this valley

on the rocky plateau, declares God—

you who say,

“Who can come against us?

Who can enter our refuge?”

I will punish you as your deeds deserve,

declares God.

I will kindle a fire in your forests

that will consume everything around you.’

(Jeremiah Chapter 21)”

This is the paragraph of Hallel that describes our great trust in God because He is True and real. He is not like the idols of the other nations.

Jeremiah’s audience trusted that God would save them.

They trusted that God would never allow the Babylonians to successfully destroy Jerusalem.

They trusted that God would protect His Holy Temple.

Jeremiah is warning them that their trust is misplaced; not because of God being unable to protect them, but because they have rejected God and His multiple warnings that if they refused to change and live as good people and create a just and righteous society, that they would be destroyed by the Babylonians.

We sing this paragraph because it is Hanukkah,

because our trust in God after the Chanukah miracle is so real and tangible, because we have recommitted ourselves to live as He desires,

because we are committed to bringing His Light to the world.

We can use the trust of Hanukkah,

the confidence of Hanukkah,

the joy of Hanukkah,

the reconnection to God of Hanukkah,

to project deserved trust that God will surely protect us over the coming month.

It was this level of trust that was lacking in Jeremiah’s generation.

It is not lacking as we sing this Hallel on Hanukkah.

We have the ability to sing this Hallel to protect us from tragedy with full confidence that this time it will protect us.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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12
Oct

Succot Hallel Part Three

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Paragraph Seven

“All you nations; Praise God!

Sing compliments, all you peoples!

For His kindness overpowers us,

and God’s Truth is forever.

Hallelukah!”


Rabbi Shimon, the son of Rabbeinu Hakadosh (R. Yehudah HaNassi), asked his father, “Which nations are meant by ‘All you nations; Praise God!’ and which peoples by, ‘Sing compliments, all you peoples!’? Rabbi Yehudah replied, “The nations are all those who oppressed the Children of Israel, and the peoples are those who did not oppress them.”

All these peoples said, “If they who oppressed the Children of Israel sing praise to the Holy One, Blessed is He, we, who did not oppress them should sing all the more!” Hence it is said, “All you nations; Praise God! Sing compliments, all you peoples!”

The Children of Israel also said, “Even more should we sing His praise! And they went on to say,  “For His kindness overpowers us,  and God’s Truth is forever.” True to what? True to the covenant made with the patriarchs, as it is said, “Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob…” (Lev. 26:42) – Midrash Tehillim 117:2

Rabbi Yehudah taught that this short psalm addresses the redemptions that have already taken place, i.e. ‘Those who have oppressed Israel,’ and the Final Redemption, i.e. ‘Those who have not oppressed the Children of Israel. All previous redemptions were in the merit of the Patriarchs and God’s covenant with them. We, who want to call on their merit and on the Covenant, must pray. This is the idea of “Praying before we are in trouble,” meaning we must constantly call on the Patriarch’s merit and the Covenant in order to be protected and saved.

We have just completed Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and hopefully experienced a level of Redemption and freedom. We sing this paragraph of Hallel as a prayer that the joy, redemption, and freedom we experienced over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, will continue to showered upon us throughout the year.

Paragraph 7 – Four Species Hallel:

“All you nations; Praise God!

Sing compliments, all you peoples!

For His kindness overpowers us,

and God’s Truth is forever.

Hallelukah!”


The previous paragraph described how we can thank God. Our expressions of gratitude, when real, lead to universal gratitude. In Birchat Hamazon, the Grace After Meals, “Nodeh,” or, “We thank,” is immediately followed by, “Yitbarach shimcha bifi kol chai,” “Your Name will be blessed in the mouths of all living things. In the Amidah, “Modim,” “We are thankers,” is immediately followed by, “V’chol Hachaim yoducha,” “All living things will thank You.”

This paragraph takes the gratitude expressed in the previous chapter and expands it to the entire world. We shake the Four Species in all directions to call on all of God’s creations to join us in blessing His Name, singing His praises, and thanking Him.

Paragraph 7 – Shabbat Chol HaMoed Hallel:

“All you nations; Praise God!

Sing compliments, all you peoples!

For His kindness overpowers us,

and God’s Truth is forever.

Hallelukah!”


Although Shabbat honors the Seventh Day of Creation of all things, the Covenant of Shabbat is not universal, but particular to those who are connected with the Covenant of Torah. Torah is the path to bring all of creation to the Universal Shabbat of Olam Habbah, the World to Come.

The Succot Mussaf Offerings honor all the nations of the world and invite all to the House of Prayer for All Nations. The Succah itself reminds us of the Beit Hamikdash, the universal place that brings blessing to the entire creation.

Shabbat Succot is the time when Universal Time meets Universal Place, and we strive to become the Universal Human Being, connecting all dimensions to the Ultimate Source of Life.

We sing this paragraph today to celebrate the special opportunity offered by this day of complete connection between people, place and time.

 





 

Paragraph Eight

“I called to the Creator of Heaven and Earth from a tight spot, and He answered me broadly. God is with me, I have no fear; what can people do to me? God is with me to help me, so I can confront my enemies.”

This paragraph celebrates our successful judgment on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when we were confronted by our accusers, our enemies, and our own mistakes. The laws of Succot demand joy, specifically the joy of confidence that we received a wonderful judgment.

Paragraph 8 – Four Species Hallel:

“All the nations surrounded me but I survived them in God’s Name.

They surrounded and encircled me but I survived them in God’s Name.

Though they surrounded me like a swarm of bees, they were snuffed out like burnt thorns.

I survived them in God’s Name. “

We shake the Four Species in all directions to fight off all those who surround and encircle us to hurt us.

Paragraph 8 – Shabbat Chol HaMoed Hallel:

“This is the day God made; let us sing and be happy with it.”  The Talmud applies this verse to the day when David, the rejected son of Yishai, was anointed as the future king of Israel. All the troubles of his past, all the fluctuations in the life of Samuel the prophet, disappeared in a moment when the future was clear and filled with expectation. It was not the end of a story, but a beginning.

The very first Shabbat would have been the beginning of the future rather than the conclusion of the week, had Adam not sinned. This concept of choice between Shabbat as a conclusion or a beginning is part of the nature of each Shabbat, as it is for Succot, the Festival of Gathering in the Harvest. We can look back on all our hard work and breathe in relief that our harvest was successful, the conclusion of the agricultural year, or, we can celebrate that we are prepared for the future. Our storehouses are full. We are ready to face the future with confidence, and say on this Shabbat-Succot Day of Beginnings; “This is the day God made; let us sing and be happy with it.”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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12
Oct

Succot Hallel Part Two

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

<strong>Paragraph Five</strong>

Raba lectured, What means, “I love that the Lord should hear [my voice and my supplications]”? The congregation of Israel said: “Sovereign of the Universe! When am I loved by You? When You hear the voice of my supplications.” (Pesachim 118b)

We all love when someone listens to our pleas! What is so special about God listening?

Samuel the Little ordained a fast and rain fell before sunrise. The people thought that it was due to the merit of the community, whereupon he said to them: I will quote you a parable. This can be compared to a servant who asked his master for a gratuity and the master exclaimed, ‘Give it to him, and let me not hear his voice.’

Another time Samuel the Little ordained a fast and rain fell after sunset. The people thought that it was due to the merit of the community. whereupon Samuel exclaimed: “I will quote you a parable. This can be compared to a servant who asked his master for a gratuity and the master exclaimed, ‘Keep him waiting until he is made submissive and is distressed, and then give him his gratuity.’ (Ta’anit 25b)

We do not want God to say, ‘Give it to him, and let me not hear his voice.’ We want to be able to ask and have Him respond. This is not like other relationships when we hesitate to ask and often are embarrassed to request help. We love to be able to ask, to feel comfortable asking, and to receive as a response to our prayers.

We recently celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when we asked God to shower our year with blessings. We look back on Succot and celebrate the comfort with which we can approach God and request our needs and desires.<strong> </strong>

<strong>Paragraph 5 – Four Species Hallel:</strong>

<em> “For You saved my soul from death,

my eyes from tears,

my legs from tripping.“</em>

A person’s feet are responsible for him; they take him to the place he desires. (Sukkah 53a)

“For they planted themselves at Your feet.” Rabbi Yosef taught: This refers to the Torah scholars who are engaged in Torah study and trudge with their feet from one town to another, and from one province to another to study Torah, and they cast off from themselves the yoke of the exiles.

Alternatively,  “For they planted themselves at Your feet,” means that even though they suffer during their travels, they do not leave Your sanctuary, but they receive from Your word abundant reward, though being intensely involved in debating the meaning of the Torah. (Tanchumah: V’zot HaBerachah #5)

We point our Lulav forward during this paragraph “As If” to point the way we want to move forward with our feet in order to achieve eternal life.<strong> </strong>

<strong>Paragraph 5 – Shabbat Chol HaMoed Hallel:</strong>

<em> “I love that God hears the voice of my prayers,

that I am listened to when I call!

Ropes of death strangled me and alleys of the grave found me;

I discovered trouble and sadness.

So, I called out in the Name of God:

Please God, rescue my soul!

God is proper and just.

Our Lord shows compassion.

God defends the simple.

I was lowered but then saved.”

</em>

There is special joy to experiencing salvation, to crying out and being answered, to being lowered and then rescued. Beyond the relief we can see that no matter what troubles us, we can have hope. This is the gift of Shabbat, the day on which we look at the world as being whole and complete, a world that has a taste of the World To Come.

This is also the sense that we have when, on Succot, we gather in our harvest, and see that our worries are over. We have more hope the next time we plant. We celebrate the accomplishments and growth of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We rejoice in the feeling that our prayers have been heard. This holiday empowers us to face the future with hope and aspiration.<strong> </strong>

<strong> </strong>

<strong>Paragraph Six</strong>

“What can I respond to God for all the good He has given to make me independent?”

There is a difference between one person who receives a favor, and a group that has received a similar blessing or gift: An individual knows that the gifts was specifically for him, and feels a need to acknowledge the gift. However, one who is part of a group will often rely on the others to express gratitude.

This paragraph of Hallel reminds us that although God blesses all of Israel and all of Creation, we are each obligated to acknowledge the blessings as if we were the personal recipients of all of God’s benificence.

This is similar to an idea taight in the Talmud:

He (Ben Zoma) used to say: What does a good guest say? ‘How much trouble my host has taken for me! How much meat he has set before me! How much wine he has set before me! How many cakes he has set before me! And all the trouble he has taken was only for my sake!’

But what does a bad guest say? ‘How much after all has mine host put himself out? I have eaten one piece of bread, I have eaten one slice of meat,I have drunk one cup of wine! All the trouble which my host has taken was only for the sake of his wife and his children!’

What does Scripture say of a good guest? “Remember that you magnify His works, where of men have sung.”  (Job XXXVI, 24.) But of a bad guest it is written: “Men do therefore fear Him; [He does not regard any that are too wise of heart]. (Ibid. XXXVII, 24.) (Berachot 58a)

<strong>Paragraph 6 – Four Species Hallel:</strong>

<em> “What can I respond to God

for all the good He has given to make me independent?

I will lift up the cup of salvation

and I will call out in God’s Name.”</em>

The Rekanati (Emor: “u’likachtem) teaches that the Four Species represent the Name of God. We literally hold God’s Name in our hands. (See Bet Yosef &amp; Taz, Orach Chaim 651) Our actions, speech and thought determine the level of Presence God’s Name has in this world.

“What can I respond to God for all the good He has given to make me independent?” By being aware that I hold His Name, so to speak, in my hands, and am determined to use my actions to increase His Presence in His creation. It is thus that, “I will lift up the cup of salvation

and I will call out in God’s Name.”

<strong>Paragraph 6 – Shabbat Chol HaMoed Hallel:</strong>

<em> “What can I respond to God

for all the good He has given to make me independent?”</em>

Rav Shlomo Kluger (Derushim L’Pesach #2) posits that the degree of gratitude should reflect the giver’s intentions. If someone is kind to another only to benefit himself, the recipient is, of course, obligated to be grateful, but to a lesser degree than he would be to someone who helped him solely from concern for the person in need. King David used this verse to say, “Kol tagmulohi ‘Aly,’” all God does is for me, and therefore I owe the highest the level of gratitude.

Shabbat is a gift that is entirely for us, and therefore, we owe the same gratitude expressed by King David. On Succot we recall all the kindnesses God did for us while we were in the desert; the Clouds of Protection, the Manna, water from a rock etc. It was all for us.

<strong> </strong>

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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12
Oct

Succot Hallel Part One

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Paragraph One

At which point did the Children of Israel recite Hallel? When the plague of the Slaying of the First Born began, Pharaoh went and knocked on the door of Moshe and Aaron’s house. Pharaoh wanted Israel to leave immediately, in middle of the night. “Fool,” said Moshe, “ are we thieves that we should sneak out in middle of the night?” Pharaoh responded with desperation: “All of Egypt is dying. You must leave!” Moshe and Aaron said, “If you want to stop this plague, say ‘you are free. You are under your own power. You are now the servants of God.’ Pharaoh began to cry out, “In the past you were my slaves, but now you are free. You are under your own power. You are now the servants of God and you must praise Him for the fact that you are His servants.” That is why the verse says, “Praise Him servants of God.” (Midrash Socher Tov)

Rav Shlomo Kluger (Tehillot Yisrael) asks; How could Moshe offer advice to Pharaoh when we have learned that one is punished for advising an enemy:

Rab Judah has said in the name of Rab (or it may be R. Joshuah b. Levi) that Daniel was punished only because he gave advice to Nebuchadnezzar, as it is written, “Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and atone your sins by righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, if there may be a lengthening of your tranquility etc.” (Bava Batra 4a)

He answers that Moshe was intent on speeding the redemption, as the Talmud teaches:

R. Abba said: All agree that when Israel was redeemed from Egypt they were redeemed in the evening. For it is said: “The Lord, your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night.” But they did not actually leave Egypt till the daytime. For it is said: “On the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand.”

About what do they disagree? — About the time of the haste.

R. Eleazar b. Azariah says: What is meant by ‘haste’? The haste of the Egyptians. And R. Akiba says: It is the haste of Israel. It has also been taught likewise: ‘The Lord, your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night.’ But did they leave in the night? Did not they in fact leave only in the morning, as it says: ‘On the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand?’ But this teaches that the redemption had already begun in the evening. (Berachot 9a)

One of the basic concepts of Succot, stressed by the Torah regarding the Four Species, is rushing forward: “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day,” the first day after Yom Kippur that we have an opportunity to sin. We rush to busy ourselves with Mitzvot to hold on to our Yom Kippur purity. We rush to fulfill God’s wishes.

We honor Moshe’s push to speed our redemption with this first paragraph of Hallel, and with our rush to perform God’s Mitzvot.

Paragraph 1 – Four Species Hallel:

“Who is like God, our Lord,

Who lives up high, but drops down to see what happens (to us) in the (lower) heaven and earth?

Who lifts up the lowly from the dust, raises the destitute from the garbage dumps to be seated with leaders, the leaders of their people.”


The mighty Lulav, the highest of the Four Species, and therefore the one over which we recite the blessing, is combined with the lowly Aravah, willow branch, which has no taste or smell. This combination symbolizes how God connects Heaven and Earth, “Who lives up high, but drops down to see what happens,” and, “Who lifts up the lowly from the dust.”

We hold our Four Species with the special joy that comes from realizing that all we do here on earth is raised up high by God to have eternal meaning.

Paragraph 1 – Shabbat Chol HaMoed Hallel:

“Praise, you who serve God! Praise the Name of God.

Let the Name of God be blessed from now and forever.

From sunrise to sundown, the Name of God is praised.

God is above all the nations. His Glory is beyond the sky.”


The Ma’asei Hashem (Ma’asei Mitzrayim, Chapter One) explains that if the Egyptian exile was a punishment, we would not have been entitled to be called, “Those who serve God,” until we were free. However, if the exile itself was an act of service; to expand God’s Name in the world, then we were Servants of God even when servants of Pharaoh.

The only way that we were able to maintain a sense of being servants of God when in Egypt was our ability to focus on the broad picture beyond our immediate circumstances. In other words; the Shabbat.

Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky (Emet L’Yaakov, Shemot) explains that the text the slaves studied while in exile was the Psalm of the Shabbat Day.

We sing this psalm with deep appreciation for the gift of Shabbat; the gift of being able to see beyond immediate time: “Let the Name of God be blessed from now and forever.

From sunrise to sundown, the Name of God is praised.” It is through the Shabbat that we are able to relate to God, Who is, “above all the nations. His Glory is beyond the sky.”

The Succah roof with its small open spaces between the S’chach reminds us of our ability to see beyond the physical; to see with Shabbat eyes.

 

Paragraph Two – 1

“The Sea saw it and ran away. The Jordan River reversed course.” All the water in the world split as Israel entered the Sea. The Sefer HaChaim (Introduction) explains that had only the Red Sea split, people would have said that God split the water in order to punish the Egyptians. God therefore, split all the water in the world to demonstrate that the miracles were an expression of love for Israel.

We sing this chapter of Hallel to celebrate the countless expressions of love God gave Israel in the numerous Mitzvot of Succot.

 

Paragraph Two – 2

“Who turned the rock into a pool of water.” Manna, our bread that is usually produced from the earth’s harvest, fell from the heavens. Water, which usually falls from the heavens, came from the earth, a rock. God reversed the system we know to care for us. He sent us a message that there are no boundaries to His love for us.

We have moved outside into our Succot when everyone else is moving indoors to escape the cold. We too, reverse our lives to express our reciprocal love for God.

“We sing this Hallel with the same boundless love You manifested in the miracle of the water from the rock!”

 





 

Paragraph 2 – Four Species Hallel:

“Who turned the rock into a pool of water.

Pebbles into a source of water.”

God uses His creation at will to do as He wishes. The Midrash teaches that God made a condition with each creation before it assumed its form, to serve certain functions. The creations took this a step further:

“The Sea saw it and ran away.

The Jordan River reversed course.

The mountains danced like deer,

the hills like lambs.”


The creations independently respond to God’s manifestations, not only to His commands and wishes. The Four Species dance in our hands to the Hallel as if to express for all of creation, their honor of Him.

Paragraph 2 – Shabbat Chol HaMoed Hallel:

“The Sea saw it and ran away.” It is interesting how God made Moshe a public and active participant in the splitting of the Sea. God didn’t need Moshe, but wanted him to be the one who brought about the great miracle.

“And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested from all His work which God in creating had made.” (Genesis 2:3) The Sages read the conclusion of the verse, “la’asot,” as, “so that we would all participate in the making of the world.”

Shabbat is a celebration of our creativity and important role in completing and perfecting God’s creation. It was not only Moshe, but all humanity that was invited to be active participants in the Creation.

Succot, according to Rabbi Akivah, reminds us of the booths we built in the desert with materials supplied by God, just as we built His home; the Mishkan. God wanted us to be active participants in His home, and our own.

We sing this paragraph with joy over the gift of being Participants, stressed by Shabbat and Succot.

 

Paragraph Three

This is the paragraph of Trusters, or people who are Botchim. This paragraph celebrates our conviction that God will take care of our needs, and guide us toward perfecting our souls.

The idea of Trusters is fundament to the laws of the Succah: Lavud, Dofen Akumah, etc. (See Succot Lecture Part One: “As If.”) God will fill in the empty spaces. God will “Bend the walls,” so to speak to help our Succah be kosher.

Trusters rely on God to help them accomplish their goals and fulfill their obligations.

We sing this paragraph in honor of all the “As If” laws of Succot. God will help us, Trusters, to achieve our goals.

Paragraph 3 – Four Species Hallel:

“They have mouths but do not speak,

they have eyes but do not see,

they have ears but do not hear,

they have noses but do not smell.

A hand – but do not feel.

Legs – but do not walk.

They do not even groan.

Their makers will become like them, all who trust in them.

Israel: Trust in God! Their Help and Protection!”


We speak of physical objects that cannot be anymore than what they are, even as we hold physical objects that have become so much more by virtue of being used for a Mitzvah. Our relationship with God is real, vibrant, and most importantly, empowering. The relationship allows us to transform the physical into living spiritual realities. The Four Species give voice to God’s praises, and to our being Transformers, empowered to raise the physical into new realities.

Paragraph 3 – Shabbat Chol HaMoed Hallel:

“Not we, God, not we,

but Your Name deserves honor for Your kindness, Your truth.

How can the pagans ask, “Where is their God?”

Now our God in the heavens did just what He desired.”


The Ma’asei Hashem (Ma’asei Mitzrayim, Chapter 13) explains that two revelations of God’s power took place in Egypt: The plagues proved that God has the power to compel someone to do His will. When God instructed the Children of Israel to borrow gold and silver from the Egyptians, which the former masters willingly did, God was proving that He has the power to convince someone to change his mind, not through force, but through awareness. The Egyptians became “friends,” to their former slaves.

The second revelation is described as “Your truth.”

We change our lives each Shabbat by observing the numerous and complex laws. We change our lives on Succot when we move out of our comfortable homes into the Succah. We honor the truth of God’s Torah and Mitzvot when we are willing to make such drastic changes from pure conviction and awareness.

We celebrate the clarity God gives us to perceive “Your truth,” as we sing this psalm.

 

Paragraph Four

“God remembered us and will bless – Bless the ‘House’ of Israel – Bless the ‘House’ of Aaron.” This paragraph has special resonance on Succot when we change “Houses.” We made a statement when we moved out of our homes into the Succah: “We define our home by our relationship with You, not by walls and a roof.”

This echoes the teaching of the opening Mishna in Yoma: It is written, “ And he shall make atonement for himself and for his house,” “His house,” that means, ‘his wife.’ A home is always defined by relationships, for the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, and for us on Succot.

This paragraph rejoices on the home we have constructed in our relationship with God; a boundless home that reaches the Heavens.

Paragraph 4 – Four Species Hallel:

“The heavens are God’s, while the earth has been given to people.” “Were it not for My covenant with the day and night, I had not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth.” (Jeremiah 33:25) This heaven is that of which it is said, ““The heavens are God’s,” and this earth is the “land of the living,” comprising seven lands of which David said, “I will walk before the Lord in the lands of the living.” (Zohar, Volume 1 24b)

There are actually a total of seven in the Four Species: 1 Lulav + 1 Etrog + 3 Haddasim, + 2 Aravot, corresponding to the “seven lands,” mentioned by King David. They are the celebration of the Covenant of Torah that gives continued existence to the earth that has been given to us.

We also shake the Lulav in six directions with ourselves representing the seventh world, which can reach to the Heaven, which is God’s.

 

Paragraph 4 – Shabbat Chol HaMoed Hallel:

“God remembered us and will bless –

Bless the House of Israel –

Bless the House of Aaron

Bless those who are in awe of God, the insignificant with the great.

God will enhance you – you and your children.

You are blessed to God Who made the heavens and the earth.

The heavens are God’s, while the earth has been given to people.”


What parable fits the creation of the world? The parable of a king who had treasuries filled with good things, and who asked, “To what end are these things laid up? I shall get me servants, give them to eat and drink, so that they will praise me.” Just so the world was waste and empty, and the Holy One, Blessed is He, rose up and created the earth, and let man rule over every thing. Therefore, what ought we to do? To bless and praise our Creator. – Midrash Tehillim, 89:3

Shabbat is when we bless and praise our Creator for sharing His world with us by allowing us to be active participants in its perfection.

Succot is when we gather in the harvest, our work, and celebrate not only the food we have successfully grown, but that we were created to achieve and participate in creation. “You are blessed to God Who made the heavens and the earth. The heavens are God’s, while the earth has been given to people.”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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29
Aug

Elul Hallel VI.III

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Please God; Save us! Please God; Make us successful!” (Psalms 118:25) We sing the first half, “Please God; Save us,” as we approach our service with prayers that God will empower our actions and service so that His Presence will rest upon our efforts.

We sing, “Please God; Make us successful,” when we complete our service that all our efforts be successful. (Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein – Or Yechezkail)

We sing these verse on Rosh Chodesh Elul, with the intention that the first half will empower all our work during the coming month as we repair the past year and prepare for Rosh Hashana. The second half of the verse is our prayer that we should complete the month with a powerful sense of success, so that we can enter Rosh Hashana with great joy and confidence.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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29
Aug

Elul Hallel VI.II

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“God is with me, I have no fear; what can people do to me?” (Psalms 118:6) The ‘people’ mentioned refer to the ‘man’ described in Daniel’s vision of the Four Beasts,when he says, “I was watching in night visions and behold! with the clouds of heaven, one like a man came; he came up to the One of Ancient Days, and they brought him before Him. He was given dominion, honor and kingship, so that all peoples, nations and languages would serve him; his dominion would be an everlasting dominion that would never pass, and his kingship would never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14) Jacob saw this ‘man’ in his dream of the ladder, when the fourth (exile) ascended the ladder and did not seem to come back down. (Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer 35) Jacob was terrified, until God came and said, “Behold I am with you.” (Genesis 28:15)

In Obadiah’s prophecy against Edom, the ‘man’ in Daniel’s vision, and the fourth exile in Jacob’s vision, he promises: “Even if you raise your nest like an eagle or if you place your nest among the stars, I will bring you down from there.” (Obadiah 1:4)

Our verse, “God is with me, I have no fear; what can people do to me,” explains Rabbi Yitzchak Eizek Chaver (Yad Mitzarim) is a reminder of Obadiah’s promise. Although we may feel that the exile is unending we must grasp and hold onto Obadiah’s promise, and David’s song, “God is with me, I have no fear; what can people do to me?”

We approach the end of the Jewish calendar year, another year and the exile has not ended. We sing this verse with joy as we celebrate Obadiah’s prophecy and David’s promise; as long as we feel that “God is with me,” especially during this month of intense relationship with God, “(we) I have no fear, what can the ‘man’ do to me?”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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29
Aug

Elul Hallel VI.I

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Give thanks to God Who is good, for His kindness is forever!

Let Israel declare that His Kindness is forever!

Let the House of Aaron declare that His kindness is forever!

Let those who are in awe of God declare that His kindness if forever! “ (Psalms 118:1-4)

Rav Yechezkail Levenstein explained that we must read these four verses as ascending from one level to another: We begin to offer thanks as part of the entire creation, but are not satisfied.

We rise to the level of Israel and offer songs of gratitude for the opportunities offered by being part of the covenant between God and Israel.

We are so moved by our expressions of thanks that we want to intensify the gratitude by singing as part of the “Kingdom of Priests,” as we were promised at Sinai.

Our songs of thanks raise us to a point at which we are still not satisfied with all the expressions of gratitude until this point; we want our thanks to come from an even higher point; those who achieve Awe of God.

We sing these four verses in this order as we begin the month of Elul to celebrate our opportunity to ascend to higher levels of attachment each day of the month so that the songs of thanks of the previous day are no longer sufficient to express the intensity of our gratitude.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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29
Aug

Elul Hallel V

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“For His kindness has overwhelmed us, and the truth of God is eternal, Halleluyah!” (Psalms 117:2) Rabbi Baruch Ber Leibovitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Kaminetz, shared the following story with my grandfather, Rav Ruderman zt”l, when my grandfather was a young teenager: The Vilna Gaon went to visit the Righteous Convert, (Count) Avraham Potoski when the latter was waiting to be executed for converting to Judaism. Avraham ben Avraham was weeping. The Vilna Gaon wondered how such a remarkable human being could weep when he had the opportunity to display such an act of Kiddush Hashem – Sanctification of God’s Name. “I rejoice over my opportunity,” said the Holy Convert, “I weep because I have no father in Israel, nor any children, and I feel as if I never took root among Israel.”

The Gra responded, “We find in the Midrash, “This said God, King of Israel, ‘I am the first,” (Isaiah 44:6) means, ‘I am the Father for one who has no father.’ “I am last,” I am the son of one who has no children. This refers to one such as you, a convert; God is your Father and Your child. He is your root in Israel. Is he not better than ten children?” (See Samuel I 1:8)

As we enter the month of Elul, the month of Love, we celebrate the intensity of God’s love for us that is expressed in such attention to every detail of what we need, even on an emotional level.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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29
Aug

Elul Hallel IV

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“I will raise the cup of salvations and the Name of God I will invoke.” (Psalms 116:13) The Talmud (Pesachim 119b) offers a remarkable explanation of this verse: R. ‘Avira lectured, Sometimes stating it in R. Ammi’s, Sometimes in R. Assi’s name: What is meant by, “And the child grew, and was weaned [va-yiggamel]?(Genesis 21:8) The Holy One, blessed be He, will make a great banquet for the righteous on the day He manifests [yigmol] His love to the seed of Isaac.

After they have eaten and drunk, the cup of Grace will be offered to our father Abraham, that he should recite Grace, but he will answer them, ‘I cannot say Grace, because Ishmael issued from me.’

Then Isaac will be asked, ‘Take it and say Grace.’ ‘I cannot say Grace,’ he will reply, ‘because Esau issued from me.’

Then Jacob will be asked: ‘Take it and say Grace.’ ‘I cannot say Grace,’ he will reply. ‘because I married two sisters during [both] their lifetimes, whereas the Torah was destined to forbid them to me.

Then Moses will be asked, ‘Take it and say Grace.’ ‘I cannot say Grace, because I was not privileged to enter Eretz Yisrael either in life or in death.’

Then Joshua willbe asked: ‘Take it and say Grace.’ ‘I cannot say Grace,’ he will reply, ‘because I was not privileged to have a son,’ for it is written, “Joshua the son of Nun;”(Numbers 14:38) “Nun his son, Joshua his son.” ( Chronicles I 7:27)

Then David will be asked: ‘Take it and say Grace.’ ‘I will say Grace, and it is fitting for me to say Grace,’ he will reply, as it is said, “I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.”

The Talmud is describing the great banquet for the righteous on the day “He manifests His love” for Israel. Elul, the month of manifest love, is the period of this great feast and celebration. It is during this entire month that King David accepts the Cup of Grace and sings with us, “I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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