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Women at Prayer 10: Hallel

Deracheha Staff: Laurie Novick, Director
05.02.2020
What is Hallel? When is it recited and why? Who has an obligation to recite it?
 

Deracheha

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Dedicated by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Brum for the Refua Sheleima of
Dana Petrover (Batsheva bat Gittel Aidel Leba)
and Marvin Rosenberg (Meir Chaim ben Tzipporah Miriam)
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By Laurie Novick
Rav Ezra Bick, Ilana Elzufon, and Shayna Goldberg, eds.

About Hallel

 
Origins
 
Hallel is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, made up of Tehillim 113-118. Although Sefer Tehillim is attributed to David ha-melech, our sages suggest a number of possibilities for who first recited some form of a Hallel prayer,[1] starting with Moshe Rabbeinu and benei Yisrael at the sea.[2]
 
In each situation mentioned, the Jewish people face an existential threat and recite Hallel as a prayer for God's deliverance. Without resolving the question of who originally recited Hallel, the Talmud explains that Hallel eventually became a formal enactment.
 
Pesachim 117a
The Sages said: The prophets among them established that Israel should recite it [Hallel] at every season, and upon every trouble that does not come upon them [a euphemism for the reverse], then when they are redeemed, they recite it upon their redemption.
 
In practice, there are two grounds for reciting Hallel: First, to mark specific seasons, such as festive days outlined by the Torah. Second, following miraculous redemption of the Jewish people[3] from “every trouble.”[4]
 
Days of Hallel
 
The Talmud lists the festive days on which we recite a full Hallel:
 
Arachin 10a
Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: An individual recites the complete Hallel on 18 days [throughout the year] - the eight days of Chag [Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret], eight days of Chanuka, the first festive day of Pesach, and the festival of Atzeret (Shavuot). And in the diaspora, 21 days - the nine days of Chag, eight days of Chanuka, the first two festive days of Pesach, and the two festive days of Atzeret
 
Why recite a full Hallel on these holidays and not others? The continuation of the passage presents criteria for determining when to recite Hallel. To be eligible, a day must have a unique sacrifice, (i.e., not the six last days of Pesach), be called a mo’ed in the Torah (i.e., not Shabbat), be sanctified by a prohibition on labor (i.e. not Rosh Chodesh), and not be a day on which our very lives are judged (i.e., not the Days of Awe). Chanuka meets none of these criteria, but is still a day of Hallel because of the need to express praise and thanks for the miraculous redemption from the Seleucid Greeks.[5] Halachic authorities who encourage reciting Hallel on Yom Yerushalayim or Yom Ha-atzma'ut view these days as similarly redemptive.
 
It's not clear from the Talmud if the obligation to recite Hallel on the days listed is rabbinic[6] or on a Torah level.[7] Rambam takes the first approach;[8] Ramban disagrees. He argues that reciting Hallel is a Torah-level mitzva, perhaps derived from the mitzva to rejoice with song on the festivals when there is a special sacrifice.[9] (As we saw, having a special korban is a criterion for when we recite Hallel.[10]) Alternatively, since the prophets enacted it, perhaps Hallel belongs in the halachic category of Divrei Kabbala, matters received from the prophets, which are sometimes treated like Torah-level mitzvot.[11] 
 
What is Hallel about?
 
The Talmud lists some of Hallel's more significant themes:
 
Pesachim 118a
Us, why do we say these [specific Tehillim in Hallel]? Because they include these five things: the exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Torah, the resurrection of the dead, and the birthpangs of Mashiach.
 
Hallel begins with a call to praise God, moves on to praise God’s mastery over nature (as exemplified by the miracles the Talmud lists), next prays for salvation, and then praises and thanks God for providing it. We end Hallel with an affirmation of faith.
 

Women's Exemption

 
Are women obligated to recite the full Hallel? The mishna rules that one man can discharge another's obligation to recite Hallel.[12] But if a bondsman, woman, or minor, reads Hallel on a man's behalf, their reading doesn't discharge his obligation. In this case, the man must repeat Hallel after the reader, word for word.
 
Mishna Sukka 3:10
One for whom a bondsman or a woman or a minor recites [Hallel]–he repeats what they say after them.
 
Rashi explains that this mishna indicates that women, bondsmen and minors are all exempt from the mitzva of Hallel. Only someone who is obligated in a mitzva can discharge another's obligation.[13]
 
Rashi Sukka 38a
They recite it for him – They practiced thus: one would read Hallel and discharge the obligation for the many. If [the reader] was a slave or woman or minor, since they are not obligated in the matter, they cannot discharge the obligation of those who are obligated. Therefore, he would repeat after him [or her, word for word] everything that he said.
 
Women are exempt from Hallel because it is a positive time-bound mitzva. In practice, though, a woman may recite Hallel voluntarily. Women who customarily recite berachot over voluntary mitzva performance recite a beracha over Hallel as well.
 
Bei'ur Halacha 422 s.v. Hallel
It is further explained in Sukka 38 and in the halachic authorities that women are exempt from Hallel since it is a positive time-bound mitzva…Know that it is clear that, in any case, she [a woman] herself can recite Hallel and recite a beracha over it even though she is not obligated, as with all positive time-bound mitzvot where they [women] are meticulous and recite a beracha.
 

Women's Obligation

 
Rambam implies that women are exempt from all recitations of Hallel,[14] and Magen Avraham says so explicitly.
 
Magen Avraham 422:5
Women are exempt from every Hallel because it is a positive, time-bound commandment.
 
Tosafot, however, point out that not all Hallels are cut from the same cloth. They rule that women are obligated in at least one yearly recitation of Hallel, at the Seder, based on the same halachic principle that includes women in the obligation to drink four cups of wine that night – “af hen hayu be-oto ha-nes,” “they too were part of that miracle.”
 
Tosfot Sukka 38a, s.v. mi she-haya
This indicates that a woman is exempt from Hallel on Sukkot and Shavuot, because it is a [positive] time-bound mitzva. Yet regarding Hallel on Pesach nights, Pesachim 108a indicates that women are obligated in the four cups [of wine], and presumably the four cups were established specifically so we could say Hallel and the Hagada over them. Hallel on Pesach is different because it is on the miracle, and they too [women] were part of that miracle, but here [on other festivals] it is not recited because of a miracle.
 
Hallel at the Seder differs significantly from other Hallels. For example, only Hallel of Seder night is recited at night. Otherwise, the timing for Hallel is in the daytime, until halachic sunset. Rav Hai Gaon explains that Hallel of Seder night is a song, not a mere recitation.
 
Ran Pesachim 26b
But our Rabbi, Hai Gaon z”l, wrote in a responsa that one does not recite a beracha on the Hallel of the night of Pesach “to complete Hallel” because we do not read it in the mode of “reading” but rather in the mode of “song” …
 
Rabbanit Sally Mayer elaborates on what sets this Hallel apart from others:[15]
 
Rabbanit Sally Mayer "Hallel: The Song of the Seder"
We do not introduce it with a blessing, which would bespeak the formal establishment of a mitzvah, a commandment, because we are spontaneously reacting to a miracle that has just occurred before us. We need not stand, we do not have time to go to the synagogue; elated by our good fortune, we cannot help but sing to thank God for the miracle He has just performed. Even the meal seems in consonance with this Hallel, as though it is the champagne brought out to celebrate the joy of victory. The Hallel of the Seder thus reflects the character of the entire holiday of Passover… Hallel celebrates that moment when we personally leave Egypt...
 
Tosafot's ruling, that women are fully obligated to join in this song of praise and thanks because of inclusion in the miracle, is widely accepted.[16]
 
Other Hallels
 
Other halachic authorities have suggested extending Tosafot's ruling to obligate women in other Hallels recited for miracles. Rav Raphael Shapiro of Volozhin maintains that women have an obligation to recite Hallel on the first day of Pesach,[17] and on Chanuka. (See more on Hallel on Chanuka here.)
 
Torat Raphael OC 75
On the first Yom Tov of Pesach we also say Hallel because of the miracle and not only because of Yom Tov…If so, it seems that also on the first day of Pesach women are obligated to recite Hallel…and likewise on Chanuka they are also obligated since it is because of a miracle.
 
Rav Ovadya Yosef rules that women whose community follows the practice of reciting Hallel before the Seder should recite it:
 
Yechaveh Da'at 5:34
So one can say that, just as men recite Hallel with a beracha on Pesach night before the Seder, women are also obligated to say it, since it was established over the miracle. It seems further that this is included in Shulchan Aruch’s ruling: "Women are also obligated in the four cups and in all the mitzvot that are practiced on that night." Hallel on the night of Pesach with a beracha [before the Seder] is one of the mitzvot of Pesach night. If so, women, too, must say it with a beracha before the beginning of the Seder
 
In practice, a woman should make an effort to recite any Hallel in which she might be obligated, but she has halachic views to rely on if she cannot manage it (as on a busy evening before the Seder).
 

Abbreviated Hallel

 
On Rosh Chodesh, there is no prohibition on performing labor, so there is no obligation to recite a full Hallel.
 
Arachin 10a
…So then [we should say it on] Rosh Chodesh, which is called a mo’ed? It was not sanctified with a [prohibition against] doing work, as it is written (Yeshayahu 30:29) “This song will be for you like a night that was sanctified as a festival.” A night sanctified as a festival [when work is prohibited] requires shira, and one not sanctified as a festival does not require shira.
 
How can this passage take the omission of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh for granted, when it is customary to say Hallel on Rosh Chodesh? Elsewhere, the Talmud explains:
 
Ta'anit 28b
Rav arrived in Bavel and saw that they recited Hallel on Rosh Chodesh. He thought he should stop them. When he saw that they skipped sections, he said, “This indicates that they are acting in accordance with the custom of their fathers.” It is taught: An individual should not begin [Hallel], but if he began, he finishes [it].
 
Already in Talmudic times, the Jewish community in the diaspora had the custom on Rosh Chodesh of reciting a partial Hallel, Hallel be-dilug (lit., Hallel with skipped-over passages). Rav, coming from Israel, was unfamiliar with the custom, which may have originated as a way for diaspora communities to remember kiddush ha-chodesh, the sanctification of the new moon.[18]
 
Tosafot explain that the abbreviated Hallel has the status of custom, not commandment.
 
Tosafot Arachin 10a s.v. eighteen
"When he saw that they skipped sections, he said, ‘This indicates that they are acting in accordance with the custom of their fathers.’" This indicates that Rav thought that people did not recite [Hallel] at all. If so, our saying it is certainly just a custom and not an obligation as on the eighteen days. In any case, Rabbeinu Tam says that one must recite a beracha over it, as indicated by the fact that he [Rav] thought to stop them …For otherwise, the moment Rav saw that they did not recite a beracha before it, he would have instantly been able to understand that it was not [treated as obligation] but as custom...
 
Rabbeinu Tam adds that even though Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is only a custom, we do recite a beracha over it. (This aligns with his position permitting women to recite berachot when performing mitzvot voluntarily.) Had the congregation in Bavel begun Hallel without a beracha, Rav would have understood immediately that they considered the recitation a custom and not a commandment.
 
There are two other positions on reciting a beracha over Hallel on Rosh Chodesh. Rif maintains that one recites a beracha over an abbreviated Hallel only within a congregation.[19] Rambam rules that one does not recite berachot over customs.
 
Rambam Berachot 11:16
Every matter which is a custom, even if it is a custom of the prophets, like taking the willow on Hoshana Rabba, and it goes without saying a custom of the sages, such as reciting Hallel on Rosh Chodesh and chol ha-mo'ed of Pesach, one does not recite a beracha over it.
 
Shulchan Aruch cites the more restrictive views, while Rema allows for an individual to recite the beracha.[20]
 
Shulchan Aruch OC 422:2
They recite Hallel be-dilug, whether an individual or the community. There are those who say that the congregation recites a beracha over it…but the individual does not recite a beracha over it. There are those who say that even the congregation should not recite a beracha over it, neither at the beginning nor at the end, and this is Rambam's view and thus we practice in the entire Land of Israel and its surroundings. Rema: There are those who say that even an individual recites a beracha over it. Thus we practice in these lands. In any case, a person should take care to recite it communally in order to recite a beracha over it with the congregation.
 
Hallel is not completed on the last six days of Pesach, because their mussaf sacrifice is identical to that of the first day.[21] Contemporary custom is also to recite Hallel be-dilug on the final six days of Pesach, and to treat it like Hallel on Rosh Chodesh.[22]
 
Shulchan Aruch OC 490:4
Every day of chol ha-mo’ed and the last two days of Yom Tov, Hallel is read be-dilug as on Rosh Chodesh.
 
Women Reciting Abbreviated Hallel
 
Even though the exemption from positive time-bound commandments generally applies to Hallel, many women took on the binding custom to say Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, as men did. Mishna Berura makes this point, and adds that, in communities in which individuals recite a beracha over Hallel, women and men alike can rely on Tosafot's ruling to permit reciting berachot over customs.
 
Bei'ur Halacha 422:2
Magen Avraham indicates that this law [exempting women from Hallel] also applies on Rosh Chodesh. But, in my humble opinion, this is not clear. For this is relevant only on days on which we complete Hallel…It makes sense that for Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, when it is our custom to recite a beracha, a woman may also recite a beracha like men.... And in the siddur of Ya’avetz, he wrote that women should not recite a beracha over Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, but practice is not in accordance with his opinion.
 
Rosh Chodesh is considered a sort of Yom Tov for women. Rebbitzen Chana Bracha Siegelbaum teaches that women's connection to Rosh Chodesh provides added impetus for reciting Hallel.[23]
 
Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, "Praising Hashem through Song"
Although women are exempted from reciting Hallel on Rosh Chodesh and during the holidays since it is a positive time-bound mitzvah (Biur Halacha, Orach Chaim, Siman 422), it seems to me, that if we are created in order to praise Hashem, then we should still make the effort. In the past, when women had to go down to the well to draw water, wash the garments by hand, grind their own flour, and dig up their own potatoes, it is understandable why they should be exempt from reciting Hallel. Today, with washing-machines, disposable diapers, food-processors and pre-checked greens, women have much less of an excuse to refrain from prayer. Especially on Rosh Chodesh, when women are accustomed to abstain from work (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 417) it seems to me, that we should prioritize praising Hashem by reciting Hallel. Reciting Hallel, is actually considered a minhag (custom) even for men. So just as men have taking this custom upon themselves and are strict about reciting Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, why should women do any less? Aren’t women also created for the sake of praising Hashem?
 
May a woman lead a man in reciting Hallel?
 
We learned from the Mishna that a woman could not discharge a man's obligation in Hallel unless she is certainly obligated, as at the Seder. The same mishna also discourages a man's responding word for word to a woman's recitation of Hallel:
 
Mishna Sukka 3:10
One who had a bondsman or woman or minor reciting [Hallel] to him repeats after them what they say, and a curse should befall him.
 
Why would a man who repeats Hallel word for word after a woman deserve a curse? Tosafot explain that a person who is obligated in Hallel but does not know it should seek help from someone else who is obligated:
 
Tosafot Sukka 38a s.v. Ve-tehi lo me’eira
A curse should come upon him because a bondsman and a woman also are not obligated in Hallel, for it is a positive time-bound commandment.
 
According to this explanation, a man should not be led by a woman in a Hallel from which she is exempt, even if he repeats it after her. The curse would not apply, however, when she has the same obligation or custom as men to recite Hallel, as on Rosh Chodesh. Indeed, Mishna Berura allows for a woman to lead a man in Hallel of Rosh Chodesh:
 
Bei'ur Halacha 422:2
… Only on days when we complete Hallel, when men have a rabbinic obligation, are women unable to discharge [men’s obligations], even in a place where [women] are already accustomed to do this mitzva. For [women are reciting Hallel] only as a custom, and men as an obligation. But on days on which we do not complete the Hallel, when for men it is also just a matter of custom, if in a given place women also took on the custom of this mitzva, what is the difference between them [men and women]? Perhaps the Magen Avraham was referring to a place where women did not adopt this mitzva until now, so they have no obligation at all, even as a custom, and now the woman wishes to recite and discharge [a man’s obligation], and further study is required…
 
We could make the same case on chol ha-mo'ed of Pesach. Similarly, if we view a woman's obligation in Hallel on Seder night as equivalent to a man's obligation, then a woman could discharge a man's obligation. Rav Ovadya Yosef rules this way.[24] His and Mishna Berura's rulings are easiest to apply in a more private setting, such as a Seder, where a woman could lead a call and response for her family. Practice in more public settings would depend on some of the factors we discuss here.[25]
 

Hallel and the Community

 
Drawing from the example of Moshe and benei Yisrael at the sea, Jews during the Mishnaic era recited Hallel communally as a series of calls and responses. The leader would discharge the obligation the entire congregation, who would answer with a few key phrases, or "halleluyah."
 
Sota 30b
Rabbi Akiva expounded: when Israel came up from the sea, they set themselves to reciting song. How did they recite song? Like an adult who leads Hallel and they repeat after him the beginning of each section [of Tehillim]
 
Rashi Sota 30b
Like an adult who leads Hallel: He recites it for the congregation to discharge their obligation.
 
When more Jews became able to recite Hallel fluently, in Talmudic times, the leader no longer discharged others' obligations. Much of the call and response format was still maintained, in part to preserve memory of the original practice.
 
Rashi Sukka 38b
From the minhag of Hallel. From what we see practiced nowadays in synagogues…We say all of Hallel along with the leader until “Hodu” and respond “Hodu” after him and go back to reciting [Hallel] with him until “Ana” and respond ”Ana hoshi’a na” and “Ana hatzlicha na” after him, as we do, and this is not like the recitation of the first ones [Tannaim], who would respond “halleluyah” after everything…And Rava said that from the current custom we learn what is the essence of reciting Hallel when they first enacted it… what the first ones [Tannaim] established to respond for those who are and are not expert [in reciting it].
 
In our day, too, the leader of Hallel no longer discharges others' obligations, and we recite it with very little call and response. The call and response that remain are important, though. For this reason, halachic authorities encourage reciting Hallel with the community. Magen Avraham even writes that a person arriving late to synagogue should delay other prayers (or interrupt pesukei de-zimra) in order to recite Hallel with the community.
 
Magen Avraham 422:2
To recite it in the community: If one comes to the synagogue close to the time of Hallel, he should recite Hallel first with the community and then pray.
 
From its origins, communal Hallel, an opportunity to praise and thank God en masse, has had a special level of meaning. Rav Soloveitchik puts this in halachic terms. He writes that reciting Hallel be-tzibbur, communal Hallel of call and response, fulfills the mitzva more completely than an individual's Hallel.
 
Reshimot Shiurei Ha-Gri"d Soloveitchik, Sukka 38a s.v. ve-nir'eh
Fulfillment of the mitzva of response is applicable only in a congregation—for the prayer leader recites, invites, and demands that the congregation respond…Indeed the individual is able to fulfill only the simple mitzva of reciting Hallel, and lacks the complete mitzva of Hallel that comes into being with the response of the congregation.
 
What counts as community?
 
While Rav Soloveitchik writes that a communal Hallel requires a minyan,[26] a midrash suggests that a group of three can suffice:
 
[Midrash Tehillim 113
[“Halleluyah. Halleu avdei Hashem. Hallelu et shem Hashem.] Praise God. Give praise you servants of God. Praise the name of God.” From here the sages said that [responsive] Hallel needs no less than three people. To whom does he say "Hallelu/Praise" [in plural]? To two people. And the one who says it is one, so there are three.
 
Rema rules in accordance with this position:
 
Rema Shulchan Aruch OC 422:2
There are those who say that when an individual recites Hallel, he says it to two people so they will say the beginning of each [responsive] section with him, for then it is like many [people].. This practice was adopted with “Hodu” but not with ”Ana.”
 
Mishna Berura explains that finding another two people to recite Hallel with is ideal, though not obligatory, and this holds true for all recitations of Hallel.[27]
 
Mishna Berura 422:18
Later halachic authorities wrote that there is no practical difference in this matter between Rosh Chodesh and days on which we complete the Hallel, and in all cases one should say it to two [people]…but they wrote that the essence of this matter is only lechat’chila [ideally], and if there aren’t two people available, he need not chase after them.
 
If a collective for Hallel's call and response need not be a minyan then perhaps the minimum group of three could include women (or even children old enough to understand Hallel):
 
Rosh Pesachim 10:32
What is [described] in midrash Tehillim, [a man] with his wife and a minor of educable age, can recite “Hodu” [on seder night].
 
In this spirit, women praying outside of a minyan have reason to recite Hallel together, including the responsive sections. While Hallel among a group of women may not meet Rav Soloveitchik's definition of a communal Hallel, it is likely considered a Hallel of call and response. In this sense, it is reminiscent of Miriam's song at the sea.
 
Mechilta of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai 15:21
"And Miriam led them [the women] responsively:" The verse tells us that just as Moshe said shira [song] for the men, so did Miriam say shira for the women.
 
The song of Miriam and the daughters of Israel provides inspiration for women reciting Hallel in any context, alone or together.
 
 

[1] Pesachim 117a
We learned in a baraita: Rabbi Meir would say: David said all the praises written in the Sefer Tehillim, as it is written, “’The prayers of David the son of Yishai are completed (kalu),’ do not read it as kalu, rather as kol elu (all of these).” Who said it [Hallel]? Rabbi Yosi says: My son Elazar says Moshe and Israel said it when they emerged from the [Red] Sea. And his fellows dispute him, saying that David said it. But his opinion appears more likely than theirs, for how can it be that Israel slaughtered their Pesach offerings and took their lulavim and did not recite shira?!
As Rashi explains, Rabbi Yosi is inclined to accept his son’s opinion that Hallel originated with the exodus from Egypt and splitting of the sea, because he cannot fathom how generations of Israelites slaughtered the Pesach sacrifice or waved the lulav without the accompaniment of the joyous song of Hallel.
[2] Pesachim 117a
Our Rabbis taught: Who said this Hallel? Rabbi Elazar said: Moshe and Israel said it when they stood at the [Red] Sea they said, (Tehillim 115:1) "Not for our sake, God, not for our sake..." the Divine spirit answered and said to them (Yeshayahu 48:11) “For my sake, for my sake I will do it.” Rabbi Yehuda said: Yehoshua and Israel said it when the Kings of Canaan threatened them; they said, "Not for our sake," and [the Divine spirit] answered.... Rabbi Elazar Hamoda’i said: Devora and Barak said it when Sisera threatened them…Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said: Chizkia and his assembly said it when Sancheriv threatened them...Rabbi Akiva said: Chananya, Misha’el, and Azaria said it when the wicked Nevuchadnezzar threatened them....Rabbi Yosi the Galilean said: Mordechai and Esther said it when the wicked Haman threatened them...
[3] Tosafot Sukka 44b
For the redemption of all of Israel we say it [Hallel] in perpetuity.
[4] Chiddushei Ha-Gri"z Arachin 10b
They are two laws [of reciting Hallel]: "on each season," i.e. the eighteen set days, and "on each and every trouble" is a distinct law, which is that we can say Hallel at every time that we are redeemed from trouble.
[5] Arachin 10a-b
Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon son of Yehotzadak: There are eighteen days on which an individual recites full Hallel: The eight days of Chag, the eight days of Chanuka….But Chanuka…[we recite a full Hallel] because of the miracle.
[6] Berachot 14b
Hallel is rabbinic
[7] Ta'anit 28b
Rava said: This tells us that Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is not a Torah obligation.
[8] Mishneh Torah Megilla and Chanuka 3:6
Reciting Hallel is always rabbinic on all the days on which we recite the complete Hallel.
[9] Sha'agat Aryeh rejects the possibility that Hallel is an aspect of the shira of simchat Yom Tov, since then one might argue that women would be obligated in Hallel of Yom Tov, which would contradict the mishna in Sukka:
Sha'agat Aryeh 69
It does not make sense to say this, for if it is true, there is no reason to exempt women from Hallel, since they are obligated in the essential song [of Yom Tov] like men…Rather it is certain that reciting Hallel is not included in the mitzva of simcha at all and is only rabbinic.
[10]  Ramban's Glosses to Rambam's Sefer Ha-mitzvot, Shoresh 1
…At Sinai, Moshe was commanded that Israel should recite shira to the God who took them out of Egypt and split the sea for them and set them apart to serve Him. David came and established this Hallel for them so they would recite it. And also the songs in the Temple [the Psalms that were recited when sacrifices were offered, which were composed by David]… And it seems from their words that it (Hallel) is from the Torah, as I have explained, and it is either halacha l’Moshe miSinai [a Torah-level mitzva without a clear Scriptural source] or it is included in the general commandment to rejoice [on the festivals], as it says, “On the day of you joy and your appointed timed and the beginnings of your months, you shall blast the trumpets on your burnt-offerings and on your peace-offerings.” As the essence of shira is singing with the mouth, and instruments are just used to make the voice sweeter. We were commanded to rejoice in song with our sacrifices. At other times, [Hallel] is included in the general commandment of rejoicing [on the festivals]. …It’s possible that this [statement that Hallel is rabbinic] was said about the days of Chanuka and the days that an individual does not complete Hallel….
[11] Ra'avad rules along these lines:
Ra'avad on Mishneh Torah Megilla and Chanuka 3:6
They [recitations of Hallel] involve a positive commandment from Divrei Kabbala [received Torah from the prophets], "The song will be for you as on the night of sanctifying the festive offering" (Yeshayahu 30:29).
[12] Mishna Sukka 3:10
If an adult male recited Hallel for him, he responds after him "halleluyah".
[13] For more on discharging obligations, see our articles here and here.
[14] Rambam, Laws of Megilla and Chanuka 3:6, 14
Not only the Hallel on Chanuka is rabbinic but reciting Hallel is always rabbinic on every day on which we recite the full Hallel…If the person calling out the Hallel is a minor or bondsman or woman, [a  man] repeats after them what they say word for word, for the entire Hallel.
[16] Bei'ur Halacha 422:2
According to the halachic authorities, women are exempt from Hallel because it is a positive time-bound mitzva [except for Hallel on Pesach night, in which they are obligated because they too were part of the miracle, as Tosafot wrote]
[18] Shita Mekubetzet Berachot 14a
On Rosh Chodesh, even the congregation do not recite it except as a custom, a reminder of kiddush ha-chodesh.
[19] Rif Shabbat 11b
It is taught: An individual should not begin [Hallel], but if he began [it], he finishes [it]. Therefore, if an individual wishes to recite Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, he recites it without a beracha, and skips over passages.
Perhaps the role of commemorating the sanctification of the new month is inherently communal.
[20] Chabad practice is for the prayer leader to recite the beracha on behalf of the entire congregation.
Siddur of Rav Schneuer Zalman of Liadi
On the days on which we do not complete the Hallel, proper practice is for only the shaliach tzibbur to recite the beracha at the beginning and end, and the congregation should answer “amen” and discharge their obligation with his beracha.
[21] Other halachic authorities provide ideological reasons why Hallel is not recited on the last six days of Pesach. For example, Shibolei Heleket explains that it is inappropriate to recite Hallel since that is when the Egyptians drowned, and we do not rejoice in our enemies' downfall. It is difficult to see how he reconciles this view with the Talmud's suggestion that the first Hallel was recited at the Sea itself.
Shibbolei Ha-leket Rosh Chodesh 174
On Pesach we don't complete Hallel except for the first day and its night. Why? Shemuel son of Abba said: "In the fall of your enemy do not rejoice," because on it [the seventh day of Pesach] the Egyptians drowned.
[22] Ramban, however, reportedly ruled that the enactment to recite Hallel be-dilug on Pesach also applies to an individual who should recite it with a beracha, while on Rosh Chodesh one should not.
Maggid Mishneh Megilla and Chanuka 3:5
The view of Rambam is to equate chol ha-mo'ed of Pesach with Rosh Chodesh [regarding Hallel] and this seems to be the view of all commentators aside from Ramban, who distinguished between them and said that on chol ha-mo'ed of Pesach even the individual is obligated to recite an abbreviated Hallel, because the essence of the enactment was thus, to say it on chol ha-mo'ed Pesach in abbreviated form and to recite a beracha over it.
 [24] Yechaveh Da'at 5:34
However, for us, who follow the ruling of Shulchan Aruch that also regarding reading megilla women discharge men's obligations…If so, also regarding Hallel of Pesach night one can say this.
[25] In a discussion of Hallel in a synagogue setting (available here, p. 124 and footnote 409) Rabbis Aryeh and Dov Frimer raise other concerns. For example, they contend, in the name of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl, that a woman leading Hallel is a violation of kevod ha-tzibbur. We plan to discuss women leading parts of the synagogue service in a future piece.
[26]  Reshimot Shiurei Ha-Grid Soloveitchik Sukka 38b s.v. be-ram
Indeed Rav Moshe [Soloveitchik] said…that the minyan that is necessary for call and response for Hallel is a minyan of ten.
[27] Aruch Ha-shulchan views this discussion, as well as the ruling that the latecomer to synagogue should delay prayer for the congregation's Hallel, as specific to the case of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh or the last six days of Pesach, where there is a halachic question about an individual reciting Hallel with a beracha.
Aruch Ha-shulchan OC 422:8
All this applies on Rosh Chodesh and chol ha-mo’ed Pesach and the last two days of Pesach, but when we complete the Hallel, there is no need for all this, because on them the individual is obligated to recite a beracha.

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