Hallel or halal (haw-lal'); a primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify: (stultify is to make appear foolish or ridiculous.) (make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool (-ish, -ly), glory, give [light], be (make, feign self) mad (against), give in marriage, [sing, be worthy of] praise, rage, renowned, shine. 2 Chr 5:13-14 – example (the word praise in the Hebrew here is actually halal)(Hebrew: הלל, "Praise") is a Jewish prayer—a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113-118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays. There were two series of psalms called Hallel. In the Feast of Tabernacles the series consisted of Psalms cxiii. to cxviii. both included (Archæologica Biblica, p. 416). Psalm cxxxvi. was called the Great Hallel. And sometimes the songs of degrees sung standing on the fifteen steps of the inner court seem to be so called (i.e. cxx. to cxxxvii. both included).
HALLEL & THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
During the eight days of the Feast the series of Psalms known as at the Hallel [ Ps. cxiii. cxviii.] was chanted in the Temple, the people responding as at the Feast of Tabernacles. [2 See ch. vii. This was always the case when the Hallel was chanted.] Other rites resembled those of the latter Feast. Thus, originally, the people appeared with palm-branches. [ 2 Macc. x. 7.] This, however, does not seem to have been after- wards observed, while another rite, not mentioned in the Book of Maccabees, that of illuminating the Temple and private houses, became characteristic of the Feast. Thus, the two festivals, which indeed are put in juxtaposition in 2 Macc. x. 6, seem to have been both externally and internally connected. The Feast of the 'Dedication,' or of 'Lights,' derived from that of Tabernacles its duration of eight days, the chanting of the Hallel, and the practice of carrying palm-branches. On the other hand, the rite of the Temple- illumination may have passed from the Feast of the 'Dedication' into the observances of that of 'Tabernacles.' Tradition had it, that, when the Temple-Services were restored by Judas Maccabaeus, the oil found to have been desecrated. Only one flagon was discovered of that which was pure, sealed with the very signet of the High-Priest. The supply proved just sufficient to feed for one day the Sacred Candlestick, but by a miracle the flagon was continually replenished during eight days, till a fresh supply could be brought from Thekoah. In memory of this, it was ordered the following year, that the Temple be illuminated for eight days on the anniversary of its 'Dedication.' [ Shabb. 21 b, lines 11 to 8 from bottom.] The Schools of Hillel and Shammai differed in regard to this, as on most other observances. The former would have begun the first night with the smallest number of lights, and increased it every night till on the eighth it was eight times as large as on the first.
The School of Shammai, on the other hand, would have begun with the largest number, and diminished, till on the last night it amounted to an eighth of the first. Each party had its own, not very satisfactory, reasons for its distinctive practice, and its own adherents. [ Shabb. 21 b, about the middle.] But the 'Lights' in honour of the Feast were lit not only in the Temple, but in every home. One would have sufficed for the whole household on the first evening, but pious householders lit a light for every inmate of the home, so that, if ten burned on the first, there would be eighty on the last night of the Festival. According to the Talmud, the light might be placed at the entrance to the house or room, or, according to circumstances, in the window, or even on the table. According to modern practice the light is placed at the left on entering a room (the Mezuzah is on the right). Certain benedictions are spoken on lighting these lights, all work is stayed, and the festive time spent in merriment. The first night is specially kept in memory of Judith, who is supposed then to have slain Holofernes, and cheese is freely partaken of as the food of which, according to legend, [1 In regard to the latter Jewish legend, the learned reader will find full quotations (as, in general, much interesting information on the 'Feast of the Dedications') in Selden, de Synedriis (ed. Frcf. 1696) p. 1213, and in general from p. 1207 to 1214.] she gave him so largely, to incite him to thirst and drunkenness. [2 The reader will find much that is curious in these four Midrashim (apud Jellinek, Beth haMidr. i. pp. 130- 146): the Maaseh Jehudith, 2 Midr. for Chanukkah, and he Megillath Antiochos. See also the Megillath Taanith (ed. Warsh. 1874), pp. 14 a to 15 b.] Lastly, during this Festival, all fasting and public mourning were prohibited, though some minor acts of private mourning were allowed. [a Moed K. iii. 9; Shabb. 21 b.]
More interesting, perhaps, than this description of the outward observances is the meaning of this Festival and its connection with the Feast of Tabernacles, to both of which reference has already been made. Like the Feast of Tabernacles, it commemorated a Divine Victory, which again gave to Israel their good land, after they had once more undergone sorrows like those of the wilderness; it was another harvest-feast, and pointed forward to yet another ingathering. As the once extinguished light was relit in the Temple, and, according to Scriptural imagery, might that not mean the Light of Israel, the Lamp of David?, it grew day by day in brightness, till it shone quite out into the heathen darkness, that once had threatened to quench it. That He Who purified the Temple, was its True Light, and brought the Great Deliverance, should (as hinted) have spent the last anniversary season of His Birth at that Feast in the Sanctuary, shining into their darkness, seems most fitting, especially as we remember the Jewish legend, according to which the making of the Tabernacle had been completed on the 25th Chislev, although it was not set up till the 1st of Nisan (the Paschal month). [b Bemidb. R. 13, ed. Warsh., p. 49 a, line 15 from top.]
Thoughts of the meaning of this Feast, and of what was associated with it, will be helpful as we listen to the words which Jesus spake o the people in 'Solomon's Porch.' There is a pictorialness in the description of the circumstances, which marks the eyewitness. It is winter, and Christ is walking in the covered Porch, [1 The location of this 'Porch' in the passage under the present mosque El Aksa (proposed by Caspari, Chronol. Geogr. Einleit. p. 256, and adopted by Archdeacon Watkins) is contrary to all the well-known facts.] in front of the 'Beautiful Gate,' which formed the principal entrance into the 'Court of the Women.' As he walks up and down, the people are literally barring His Way, 'came round about' Him. From the whole circumstances we cannot doubt, that the question which they put: 'How long holdest Thou us in suspense?' had not in it an element of truthfulness or genuine inquiry. Their desire, that He should tell them 'plainly' if He were the Christ, had no other motive than that of grounding on it an accusation. [2 Commentators mostly take quite a different view, and regard their as more or less honest inquiry.] The more clearly we perceive this, the more wonderful appears the forbearance of Christ and the wisdom of His answer. Briefly he puts aside their hypocrisy. What need is there of fresh speech? He told them before, and they 'believe [3 According to the better reading, in the present tense.] not.' From words He appeals to the mute but indisputable witness of deeds: the works which He wrought in His Father's Name. Their non-belief in presence of these facts was due to their not being of His Sheep. As he had said unto them before, [4 This clause in ver. 26 of the A.V. must, if retained, be joined to ver. 27.] it was characteristic of His Sheep (as generally of every flock in regard to its own shepherd) to hear, recognise, listen to, His Voice and follow Him. We mark in the words of Christ, a triplet of double parallelisms concerning the Sheep and the Shepherd, in ascending climax, [a St. John x. 27, 28.] as follows:, [5 So, after the precedent of Bengel, especially Luthardt and Godet, and after them others.]
My sheep hear My Voice, And they follow me: And they shall never perish.
And I know them, And I give unto them eternal life: And no one shall snatch them out of My Hand.
A similar fourfold parallelism with descending and ascending climax, but of an antithetic character, has been noticed [6 By Bengel.] in Christ's former Discourse in the Temple (St. John x. 13, 15),
The hireling Is an hireling, Careth not for the sheep. Fleeth
I Am the good Shepherd, Know the sheep, Lay down My Life.
“Along this [path] Jesus advanced, preceded and followed by multitudes with loud cries of rejoicing, as at the Feast of Tabernacles, when the Great Hallel was daily sung in their processions.” The Bible does not record what hymn Jesus and the disciples sang at the end of that first Christian Passover meal. However, as the passage from Edersheim indicates, the traditional hymn for a proper Paschal service was the second part of the "Hallel" (the Hallelujah) which consists of Psalms 115-118. (Mt. 26: 30).
Praise, the name given to the group of Psalms 113-118, which are preeminently psalms of praise. It is called "The Egyptian Hallel," because it was chanted in the temple whilst the Passover lambs were being slain. The singing of the 'Hallel' at the Passover dates from very remote antiquity. The Talmud dwells on its peculiar suitableness for the purpose, since it not only recorded the goodness of God towards Israel, but especially their deliverance from Egypt, and therefore appropriately opened (Psa 113) with 'Praise ye Jehovah, ye servants of Jehovah'--and no longer of Pharaoh. Hence also this 'Hallel' is called the Egyptian, or 'the Common,' to distinguish it from the great 'Hallel,' sung on very rare occasions, which comprised Psalms 120 to 136. According to the Talmud, the 'Hallel' recorded five things: 'The coming out of Egypt, the dividing of the sea, the giving of the law, the resurrection of the dead, and the lot of the Messiah.' The Egyptian 'Hallel,' it may here be added, was altogether sung on eighteen days and on one night in the year. These eighteen days were, that of the Passover sacrifice, the Feast of Pentecost, and each of the eight days of the Feasts of Tabernacles and of the Dedication of the Temple. The only night in which it was recited was that of the Paschal Supper, when it was sung by every Paschal company in their houses, in a manner which will hereafter be explained.
It was chanted also on other festival occasions, as at Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles, and the feast of Dedication. The Levites, standing before the altar, chanted it verse by verse, the people responding by repeating the verses or by intoned hallelujahs. It was also chanted in private families at the feast of Passover. This was probably the hymn which our Saviour and his disciples sung at the conclusion of the Passover supper kept by them in the upper room at Jerusalem (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26).
There is also another group of Psalms entitled "The Great Hallel," comprehending Psalms 118-136, which was recited on the first evening at the Passover supper and on occasions of great joy.