The GREAT “HALLEL” (Pesach & Sukkot)

……of Matthew 26:30 (Pesach/Passover as well as Sukkot/Booths or Tabernacles).

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It is widely recognized that YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH’S “Last Supper” with HIS disciples at the time was a “Passover Seder meal” and that the Jewish Passover liturgy included special hymns drawn from the book of Psalms. These hymns were known as the HALLEL PSALMS (meaning “Praise” psalms), and consisted of:

Psalms 113-118.

Psalm 113-118 Names of God Bible (NOG)

Psalm 113

1 Hallelujah!

You servants of Yahweh, praise him.
Praise the name of Yahweh.
2 Thank the name of Yahweh now and forever.
3 From where the sun rises to where the sun sets,
the name of Yahweh should be praised.
4 Yahweh is high above all the nations.
His glory is above the heavens.
5 Who is like Yahweh our Elohim?
He is seated on his high throne.
6 He bends down to look at heaven and earth.
7 He lifts the poor from the dust.
He lifts the needy from a garbage heap.
8 He seats them with influential people,
with the influential leaders of his people.
9 He makes a woman who is in a childless home
a joyful mother.


Psalm 114

1 When Israel left Egypt,
when Jacob’s family left people who spoke a foreign language,
2 Judah became his holy place and Israel became his kingdom.
3 The Red Sea looked at this and ran away.
The Jordan River turned back.
4 The mountains jumped like rams.
The hills jumped like lambs.
5 Red Sea, why did you run away?
Jordan River, what made you turn back?
6 Mountains, what made you jump like rams?
Hills, what made you jump like lambs?
7 Earth, tremble in the presence of the Lord,
in the presence of the Elohim of Jacob.
8 He turns a rock into a pool filled with water
and turns flint into a spring flowing with water.

Psalm 115

1 Don’t give glory to us, O Yahweh.
Don’t give glory to us.
Instead, give glory to your name
because of your mercy and faithfulness.
2 Why should other nations say, “Where is their Elohim?”
3 Our Elohim is in heaven.
He does whatever he wants.
4 Their idols are made of silver and gold.
They were made by human hands.[a]
5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak.
They have eyes, but they cannot see.
6 They have ears, but they cannot hear.
They have noses, but they cannot smell.
7 They have hands, but they cannot feel.
They have feet, but they cannot walk.
They cannot even make a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make idols end up like them.
So does everyone who trusts them.

9 Israel, trust Yahweh.
He is your helper and your Magen.
10 Descendants of Aaron, trust Yahweh.
He is your helper and your Magen.
11 If you fear Yahweh, trust Yahweh.
He is your helper and your Magen.

12 Yahweh, who is always thinking about us, will bless us.
He will bless the descendants of Israel.
He will bless the descendants of Aaron.
13 He will bless those who fear Yahweh,
from the least important to the most important.
14 May Yahweh continue to bless you and your children.
15 You will be blessed by Yahweh, the maker of heaven and earth.
16 The highest heaven belongs to Yahweh,
but he has given the earth to the descendants of Adam.
17 Those who are dead do not praise Yah,
nor do those who go into the silence of the grave.
18 But we will thank Yah now and forever.


Psalm 116

1 I love Yahweh because he hears my voice, my pleas for mercy.
2 I will call on him as long as I live
because he turns his ear toward me.
3 The ropes of death became tangled around me.
The horrors of the grave took hold of me.
I experienced pain and agony.
4 But I kept calling on the name of Yahweh:
“Please, Yahweh, rescue me!”

5 Yahweh is merciful and righteous.
Our Elohim is compassionate.
6 Yahweh protects defenseless people.
When I was weak, he saved me.
7 Be at peace again, my soul,
because Yahweh has been good to you.

8 You saved me from death.
You saved my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling.
9 I will walk in Yahweh’s presence in this world of the living.
10 I kept my faith even when I said,
“I am suffering terribly.”
11 I also said when I was panic-stricken,
“Everyone is undependable.”
12 How can I repay Yahweh
for all the good that he has done for me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation
and call on the name of Yahweh.
14 I will keep my vows to Yahweh
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of Yahweh
is the death of his faithful ones.
16 O Yahweh, I am indeed your servant.
I am your servant,
the son of your female servant.
You have freed me from my chains.
17 I will bring a song of thanksgiving to you as a sacrifice.
I will call on the name of Yahweh.
18 I will keep my vows to Yahweh
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courtyards of Yahweh’s house,
in the middle of Jerusalem.


Psalm 117

1 Praise Yahweh, all you nations!
Praise him, all you people of the world!
2 His mercy toward us is powerful.
Yahweh’s faithfulness endures forever.


Psalm 118

1 Give thanks to Yahweh because he is good,
because his mercy endures forever.
2 Israel should say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
3 The descendants of Aaron should say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
4 Those who fear Yahweh should say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

5 During times of trouble I called on Yah.
Yah answered me and set me free from all of them.
6 Yahweh is on my side.
I am not afraid.
What can mortals do to me?
7 Yahweh is on my side as my helper.
I will see the defeat of those who hate me.
8 It is better to depend on Yahweh
than to trust mortals.
9 It is better to depend on Yahweh
than to trust influential people.

10 All the nations surrounded me,
but armed with the name of Yahweh, I defeated them.
11 They surrounded me. Yes, they surrounded me,
but armed with the name of Yahweh, I defeated them.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
but they were extinguished like burning thornbushes.
So armed with the name of Yahweh, I defeated them.
13 They pushed hard to make me fall,
but Yahweh helped me.
14 Yah is my strength and my song.
He is my savior.

15 The sound of joyful singing and victory is heard
in the tents of righteous people.
The right hand of Yahweh displays strength.
16 The right hand of Yahweh is held high.
The right hand of Yahweh displays strength.
17 I will not die,
but I will live and tell what Yah has done.
18 Yah disciplined me severely,
but he did not allow me to be killed.

19 Open the gates of righteousness for me.
I will go through them and give thanks to Yah.
20 This is the gate of Yahweh
through which righteous people will enter.

21 I give thanks to you,
because you have answered me.
You are my savior.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 Yahweh is responsible for this,
and it is amazing for us to see.
24 This is the day Yahweh has made.
Let’s rejoice and be glad today!
25 We beg you, O Yahweh, save us!
We beg you, O Yahweh, give us success!
26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of Yahweh.
We bless you from Yahweh’s house.
27 Yahweh is El, and he has given us light.
March in a festival procession
with branches to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my El, and I give thanks to you.
My Elohim, I honor you highly.

29 Give thanks to Yahweh because he is good,
because his mercy endures forever.

The Mishnah connects Hallel with two holidays in the Jewish calendar: Pesach and Sukkot. It seems that the primary association is actually with Sukkot, a Temple-based holiday on which the full Hallel is recited every day. In contrast, the complete Hallel is recited only on the first of the seven days of Pesach , in conjunction with the slaughtering and eating of the Passover sacrifice. Nonetheless, the connection between Pesach and Hallel runs deep.

We find a fleeting reference to them in Gospel accounts of the Last Supper. After identifying the bread as HIS “body” and the wine as HIS “blood,” the Gospel reads:

Matthew 26:30 Names of God Bible (NOG)

30 After they sang a hymn, they went to the Mount of Olives.

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The psalms of ” HALLEL” are closely related to the song that the Israelites sang at the Sea of Reeds, a prayer of thanksgiving that both describes the personal experience of redemption and promotes worship at a central site where the glory and kingship of YAH can be proclaimed in public.

As noted, the Song at the Sea concludes with a reference to the Temple, which can be accessed only by an act of “crossing over” from wasteland to the Promised Land:

…Till Your people crossed over, O LORD, till the people you made Yours crossed over. You’ll bring them, You’ll plant them, on the mount of Your estate, a firm place for Your dwelling You wrought, o LORD, the sanctum, O Sovereign, Your hands firmly founded. The LORD shall be king for all time!
(Exod. 15:16-18)

This is precisely the form of thanksgiving that is expressed in the six psalms that comprise HALLEL, and especially in the last four. The division of the HALLEL at the Seder into:

  • One Unit of Two Psalms recited with Maggid (the Telling of the Passover Story),


  • One Unit of Four recited later in the evening,

…………is a division suggested inherently by the text.

  • The first two psalms relate to the Exodus itself,


  • the next four reflect the experience of leaving Egypt and journeying toward a holy site, the Mikdash/Temple.
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Now, this is interesting to highlight, for at least three reasons.

  • Firstly, on a totally subjective level, it is just cool to think about YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH singing at the Last Supper. Like any other Jew in the first century, he would have known how to chant the Psalms in Hebrew, especially the famous Hallel psalms. This is an aspect of the Last Supper which is often overlooked.
  • Second, on the level of YAHUSHUA’S self-understanding, the fact that HE sang the Hallel psalms at the Last Supper is potentially very revealing. As is clear from the accounts of the Last Supper, at this final meal YAHUSHUA reconfigured the traditional Jewish Passover around his own passion and death. HE shifted the focus of this Passover away from the “body” of the Passover LAMB, which was offered in the Temple, and the “blood” of the LAMB, which was poured out by the priests on the Temple altar (see Mishnah, Pesahim 5). In its place, HE put HIS own body and blood, which he commanded the disciples to eat and drink (Matt 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; 1 Cor 11). The understanding of a 1st century Jew of that time was that the Passover Sacrifice was not completed by the death of the lamb but rather by eating the LAMB. You had to eat the flesh of the LAMB!
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From Egypt to the Temple

It is clear that the recitation of HALLEL is appropriate for Sukkot, which is the quintessential Temple holiday, because the Temple theme is so central to these psalms. However, the precise narrative arc traced in the HALLEL passages is actually more reflective of the Passover experience: HALLEL highlights the movement from Egypt to the Temple, and the movement from human bondage to service of YAH (a.k.a ELOHIM meaning GOD) is what the Passover story is all about. Indeed, in the TORAH, the concept of constructing sacred space marks both the culmination of the Exodus story (in the context of the Song at the Sea) and the conclusion of the book of Exodus as a whole.

But the Rabbis chose to end the Seder with HALLEL for another reason as well. The HALLELwe recite at the Seder and in holiday prayers is called:

“the Egyptian HALLEL”

……………………………………not only because of the explicit reference to Israel leaving Egypt in Psalm 114, but also because the historical Exodus story and the experience of personal redemption are predominant motifs throughout the passages.

In the biblical text itself, the Israelites do not pray to YAHin response to their suffering at the hands of the Egyptians.

The Israelites “groan” when their labor is intensified and “cry out”

…………………………………..when they cannot bear the oppression (Exod. 2:23),

and YAH responds to these cries of pain (2:23-25); but they are not expressions of prayer. Lack of voice and personal agency is a fundamental feature of slavery that precludes prayer. Remarkably, by the end of the story, the People of Israel are able to sing–to tell of their experiences, to express their gratitude, to articulate their hopes–which is the ultimate mark of freedom.


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The following videos give an idea of what the HALLEL was like in Ancient Israel:

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HALLEL in the Hebrew Language…

Video: Händel Messiah – Hallelujah Chorus

Video: Teaching – The hymn they sang after the Last Supper…was that the Hallel?

Video: “The Great Hallel” by Hayley Smith

Video: Hallel Hallelujah de Leonard Cohen in Hebrew

Video: Psalms 113 & 114 / Hallel – Yemen Style – הלל / תהלים – נוסח תימן