6. A Tale of Two Hallels: Similarities and Differences Creating the Narrative in Book V

Mizmorim 113-118 (Egyptian Hallel) and 135-136 (Great Hallel)

Why are there two Hallel collections and why are they not placed together as one unit? What can we learn from their specific locations before and after Mizmorim 119-134?

The Egyptian Hallel describes the Exodus and anticipated journey to Yerushalayim; the Great Hallel reflects the universal dream of Israel’s life in the Land of Israel amidst the nations of the world. The break between these wonderful Hallels by the praise of the Torah (Mizmor 119) and the Shirei HaMaalot (120-134) precisely emphasizes the progression from particularity of the Jewish nation to its universal messages for other nations. The entire collection of Mizmorim from 113-136 tells the story of the revival of the Jewish people in Zion following their return from the exile.

Additionally, the two Hallel units are an important part of the Pesach Seder. Contextual interpretation will be used to understand the significant messages of the two Hallels and contribute to our Seder experience.

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