Chapter 40: Laws of Halel

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Chapter 40: Laws of Halel[1]

*See our corresponding Sefarim “The laws & Customs of Rosh Chodesh-Chanukah-Sukkos-Pesach-Shavuos” for the full details of this subject!

  1. The obligation:[2]

Shalosh Regalim: On the Shalosh Regalim one is required to recite the complete Hallel during the day. This includes, in the Diaspora, both days of Shavuos, the first two days of Pesach, the eight/nine days of Sukkos, including Shemini Atzeres. This is a [positive] Rabbinical command that was instituted by the prophets. [This applies for both a congregation and a person who is praying in private.] The sages only instituted Halel to be read on the 1st day of Pesach [and 2nd in Diaspora]. Nevertheless, the custom is to read the Hallel on each day of Pesach. Thus, on the first day [and second in Diaspora] the entire Hallel is read, while on the remaining days only an abridged Hallel is read.

Chanukah: On all eight days of Chanukah one is required to recite the complete Hallel during the day.

Rosh Chodesh:[3] The recital of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is not required from the letter of the law. Nevertheless, it is the custom to recite it. On Rosh Chodesh one recites the abridged Hallel [i.e. half Hallel]. This applies for both a congregation and a person who is praying in private. The paragraphs of Lo Lanu and Ahavti are skipped.

Purim: Halel is not recited on Purim.

Rosh Hashanah: Halel is not recited on Rosh Hashanah.

Yom Kippur: Halel is not recited on Yom Kippur.

Are women obligated to recite Hallel?[4] Women are exempt from reciting Hallel. Nevertheless, they are permitted to recite it if they so choose even with a blessing.

  1. The blessing over Hallel:

Shalosh Regalim and Chanukah: The complete Hallel is recited throughout each one of the Shalosh Regalim, [which includes, in the Diaspora, both days of Shavuos, the first two nights and days of Pesach, the eight/nine days of Sukkos, including Shemini Atzeres] and also the eight days of Chanukah.

Rosh Chodesh: The custom of Sephardim in Eretz Yisrael and the surrounding cities is not to recite a blessing even in a Minyan. However, the Ashkenazi custom is that every person recites a blessing even if he is Davening in private, without a Minyan. Nevertheless, one is to beware to try to recite Hallel with the Minyan. If one is saying Hallel with the Minyan one is to be Yotzei with the blessing of the Chazan, although many are accustomed to say the blessing to themselves even in such a case.

  1. When:

From when during the day, and until when in the day: Hallel may be recited throughout the entire day, from dawn [Alos Hashachar] until nightfall [Tzeis Hakochavim]. Thus, if one did not recite Hallel immediately after Davening [Shemoneh Esrei of] Shacharis, he may recite it throughout the day, until Tzeis Hakochavim. 

Prior to sunrise: Lechatchila one should not recite Hallel prior to sunrise. Nevertheless, if one transgressed and recited Hallel prior to sunrise, after daybreak he has fulfilled his obligation.

Immediately after Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei: Although Hallel may be recited throughout the day, it is best to recite it immediately after the Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei.

Before Shacharis: It is permitted to recite Hallel prior to Davening Shacharis. Nevertheless, according to the Arizal, Hallel is not to be said prior to Davening. Hallel may be recited without a blessing after sunset, prior to nightfall.

  1. How:

Reading Hallel with the congregation: One is to be particular to read Hallel together with the congregation immediately after Shemoneh Esrei. If one is holding prior to Davening, some Poskim rule he is to stop and recite Hallel together with the congregation. This applies for Hallel of all days. If one is holding within Pesukei Dezimra, then some Poskim rule by half Hallel [of Rosh Chodesh and Chol Hamoed Pesach] he is to stop and recite Hallel together with the congregation. Nevertheless, the Arizal was not comfortable with such an arrangement of reciting Hallel out of its proper order, and hence according to the Arizal one is never to read Hallel prior to Davening.

  1. 5. The Nussach:

The language: From the letter of the law, Hallel may be recited in any language. One fulfills his obligation even if he does not understand the language that he is reading. [Nevertheless, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to recite Hallel in Lashon Hakodesh.[5]]

Which verses in Hallel are to be repeated?[6] There are different customs regarding which verses are said twice. Each community is to follow their custom. [The widespread custom is to repeat each verse from Odecha until the conclusion of Hallel, by the verse of Hodu Lahashem. This is likewise the Chabad custom.]

Which parts are to be read aloud by the Chazan and repeated by the congregation?[7] The Chabad custom is for the Chazan to recite Hodu and for the listeners to recite Hodu and Yomar Nah. The Chazan repeats the verse of Hodu together with the congregation. The Chazan then recites Yomar and the listeners answer Hodu and Yomru Nah Beis. The Chazan then recites Yomru Nah Beis and the listeners answer Hodu and Yomru Nah Yirei. The Chazan then recites Yomru Nah Yirei and the listeners answer Hodu. The four phrases beginning Ana Hashem are each recited by the Chazan and repeated by the congregation. The stanzas are to be recited clearly by the Chazan and then answered by the congregation. Hence, the singing that customarily takes place during this recital should not drown out the voice of the Chazan or the congregation.]

One who is praying without a Minyan:[8] The verse beginning Hodu LaHashem is repeated after each of the next three verses, even when one is praying in private.

Saying Hodu with two other people when praying privately:[9] If one is reciting Hallel without a Minyan it is a Mitzvah to have another two people listen and answer [for Hodu and Ana]. This applies on all days that Hallel is recited, whether the complete or incomplete Hallel. [If however one cannot find another two people easily, then he is not required to trouble himself any further. Even one’s wife, and children that have reached Chinuch, join to make up the other two people needed for this purpose. However, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to say it with two other men that are above the age of Mitzvos. Even if one has already recited Hallel he can join to answer for Hallel.]

The word Al in the concluding paragraph:[10] In the concluding paragraph the word “al” should be omitted.


  1. Laws relating to its recital:
  2. Eating before Hallel:

One is to avoid eating prior to reciting Hallel, unless he is sick or weak in which case he is not to be stringent even as an act of piety.

  1. Standing for Hallel:[11]

Hallel is to be recited while standing. It is forbidden for one to lean on any item during Hallel [in a way that it supports him from falling]. If one transgressed and recited Hallel in a sitting position he nevertheless fulfills his obligation and is not required to repeat the recital of Hallel.

  1. Hefsek-Making an interval to answer Amen and the like:[12]

When the complete Hallel is recited then the laws of making a Hefsek [speech interval] during Hallel has the same laws as a Hefsek during the reading of the morning Shema. This applies for both the laws of Hefsek within individual paragraphs and between paragraphs. When the half Hallel is recited, such as on Rosh Chodesh and Chol Hamoed Pesach, then it has the same laws of interval of between paragraphs. [Some learn this to mean that it has the same status as between the paragraphs of Shema. Others learn this to mean that it has the same status as Pesukei Dezimra. Practically, one may stop to answer everything that one can answer during Shema, which includes: Amen Yihei Shimei Raba and Amen of Daamiran Bealma of Kaddish; Kadosh Kadosh, Baruch and Yimloch of Kedusha; Borchu; The three words of Modim Anachnu Lach; Amen for Birchas Hatorah, Hakeil Hakadosh and Shomeia Tefila. One may make an interval even in the midst of a verse, although in the event that one did so he is to return to the beginning of that verse.]


  1. Making a long interval in middle of Hallel:[13]

If one made an interval during Hallel, even if the interval was as long as the amount of time it would take to read the entire Hallel, he may nevertheless continue from where he had left off. This applies even if one made an interval due to a [Halachic] Oness, such as one entered a bathroom, which is a place that Hallel cannot be recited. Nevertheless, some Poskim are stringent [regarding days that the complete Hallel is recited], to require one to repeat from the beginning of Hallel, if one made a long interval due to Oness. Practically, one is to be stringent like their opinion [on days of complete Hallel] to repeat from the start of Hallel, although the blessing is not to be repeated. This however only applies if one had a Halachic Oness, which refers to one who made an interval in the reading due to a Halachic prohibition to continue the reading, such as if the reader had to use the bathroom in middle. In any other type of Oness the reader fulfills his obligation.

  1. Reading Hallel in the wrong order and skipping a verse:[14]

One who reads Hallel in the wrong order does not fulfill his obligation. This applies to one who reads the verses within a paragraph in the wrong order. If, however, the verses in each paragraph were read in the correct order, although the paragraphs themselves were not read in order, then some Poskim rule it is valid Bedieved, even though that initially one may not do so. Other Poskim however rule it is invalid even in such a case. In the event that one read Hallel in the wrong order, he is to repeat it without a blessing. This applies whether one read the verses in the wrong order, or read the paragraphs in the wrong order. If one made a mistake [and continued the Hallel], then he is to return to the area of the mistake and repeat from there. Thus, if one skipped a verse and then remembered later on, he is not to recite the verse in the area that he remembered, but is rather to retract to that verse and continue from there. If he does not remember which verse he skipped then he is to return to the beginning of that paragraph.

If one skipped a verse or paragraph in the abridged Hallel, does he fulfill his obligation? Yes.


  1. Hallel in the house of a mourner:[15]

Rosh Chodesh: The custom is to omit the saying of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh when praying in the house of a mourner. Nevertheless, after each member of the congregation returns home, they are obligated to recite Hallel.

Chanukah: During Chanukah, Hallel is recited in the house of the Avel just as it is recited in Shul.

Davening for the Amud on Chanukah:[16] The custom is that a mourner, within 30 days of other relatives and within 12 months of a parent, does not lead the Hallel prayer for the congregation.


[1] See 422:2-4 regarding Rosh Chodesh and Admur 488:2 regarding Shalosh Regalim; Ishei Yisrael 39; Tefila Kehilchasa 22

[2] Admur 644:1; 488:2; 490:6-7; 494:4; 131:5; Siddur Admur; Michaber 488:1; 644:1; Rambam Chanukah 3:5

[3] Admur 490:7; Michaber 422:2

[4] Admur 106:2; 479:7; M”A 422:5; Mishnah Sukkah 38a; Tosafus Brachos 20b; Kesher  Gudal 23:7; Kaf Hachaim 422:28

[5] Bach 193

[6] Michaber 422:3; Mishneh Sukkah 38a

[7] See Michaber 422:3; Hiskashrus 439; Siddur Rav Raskin p. 478

[8] Sefer Haminhagim p. 69 [English]; Hayom Yom 30th Tishrei-1st of Cheshvan

[9] Rama 422:2; Rama 479:1 regarding the night of the Seder; Admur 479:6 regarding the night of the Seder; See also Sefer Haminhagim p. 41

[10] Sefer Haminhagim p. 69 [English]; Hayom Yom 1st Teves

[11] Michaber 422:7; Admur 473:48; Shivlei Haleket 174

[12] Admur 488:3; Michaber/Rama 422:4 and 488:1; 644:1

[13] Michaber 422:5; Kaf Hachaim 422:49

[14] Michaber 422:6; Megillah 17b

[15] Admur 131:5

[16] Admur ibid; Sefer Haminhagim p. 161

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