Hallel on Chanukah: What’s the Motor?


By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

Noted Talmid Chochom, Rav Yehudah Schiff Shlita, spoke this Shabbos Chanukah at Kollel Avreichim of Far Rockaway and the Five Towns.

He dealt with the nature of the obligation of Hallel on Chanukah.


He began with Tosfos in Sukkah (38a “Mi”) who differentiates between the Hallel recited on the Moadim and the Hallel that is recited on layl Haseder. The Hallel of the Moadim is on account of the Yom Tov itself.  Since this is the case, women are exempt, as it is a time-bound Mitzvah.  They cannot, therefore, be Motzi a man.


The Mogain Avrohom 422:5, however, writes explicitly that women are exempt from all of the Hallels because it is a time-bound Mitzvah.  This includes the Hallel on Chanukah.


The Gemorah in Airachin (10a) lists 18 days in which the complete Hallel is recited: the 8 days of Sukkos, the8 days of Chanukah, the 1st day of Pesach, and the 1st day of Shavuos.

  1. The Gemorah asks why on Sukkos we recite the entire hallel for all 8 days, but by Pesach it is only on the first day. The Gemorah answers that on Sukkos, each day is differentiated with a different Korban.  On Pesach, the days all have the ame Korban and are not differentiated. Therefore, the full Hallel is recited only on the first day.
  2. The Gemorah then asks if the motor which causes Hallel to be recited is the fact that the day has it’s own Korban offering, then why is it not recited on Shabbos?
  3. The Gemorah answers that Shabbos is not called a “Moed.”
  4. The Gemorah asks that Rosh Chodesh is called a “Moed” – why is the full Hallel not recited on Rosh Chodesh?
  5. The Gemorah answers that it is not prohibited in Malacha.
  6. Later, the Gemorah asks about Chanukah – why is the full Hallel recited then – when it is neither called a Moed nor is it forbidden in Malacha?
  7. The Gemorah answers that Chanukah is different because it was enacted on account of the miracles that transpired then (Purim happened in Chutz la’aretz and therefore does not qualify).

We see from this Gemorah that there are two tracks to the recitation of a full Hallel:

  • Track one is that it is called a moed with differentiated korbanos and a prohibition of Malacha
  • Track two is that it is a miracle that happened in Eretz Yisroel to Klal Yisroel

** There is a Yesoma who, boruch Hashem, just got engaged.  If anyone would like to assist in making her chasuna please donate here or contact the author.**

Rabbi Schiff then quoted the Toras Rephoel (Siman 75) who said that women should be obligated in the full Hallel because they were included in the miracle – they too were saved.

Rabbi Schiff then cited a Rambam (Hilchos Chanukah 3:14 and Maggid Mishna there)  that women would not be able to be Motzi a man.  How then should we understand these conflicting sources?  Rabbi Schiff answered that perhaps they are, in fact, obligated but the obligation would not be enough for a woman to assist the man in fulfilling his obligation.

Rabbi Schiff asked Rav Moshe Shimon Shapiro, a Rosh Kollel in Lakewood, that according to this Tosfos in Sukkah – women should be obligated in Hallel on Chanukah.  What then is the pshat in the Rambam and in the Mogain Avrohom?

Rav Shapiro answered that Hallel on Pesach is different than that of Chanukah – because it is a form of Shira and not just a reading of Hallel. In other words, since there is an obligation to look at oneself as actually having been redeemed – the obligation is beyond a mere recitation of Hallel. Rather it is an expression of exhultation. This is based upon the Haggadah of the Beis HaLevi p. 134.

Therefore, it could very well be that the Hallel of Chanukah is slightly dependent upon the day itself – in that the Nais made it so that the Yom obligates the Hallel.  Whereas, in the Hallel of Pesach – it is not just a reading of the Hallel but a full shira obligation.

** There is a Yesoma who, boruch Hashem, just got engaged.  If anyone would like to assist in making her chasuna please donate here or contact the author.**

The author can be reached at [email protected]



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