On Hallel

A major element of Chanukah is the daily recitation of Hallel. One of the highlights of Hallel is when we declare: “Give thanks to Hashem for He is good, for His kindness endures forever.” The Maggid, in his commentary on Esther 9:28, explains that the miracles that Hashem does for the Jewish People effect benefit not only the generation that experienced the miracle, but also all future generations. When Hashem does a great act of kindness for us, the time of year when that kindness was done becomes infused with blessing for all time. (This type of idea is also found in the works of other great Jewish thinkers – notably Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler in Michtav MeiEliyahu.) The Maggid compares the effect of a miracle to the digging of a well to aid a thirsty person. Once the well is dug, it benefits not only the person it was dug for, but also all others who travel through the same zone in the future. Similarly, when we travel through a certain zone in time, we benefit from the wellsprings of blessing that Hashem implanted into that zone in the past. Thus, when we recite Hallel, we are praising and thanking Hashem not only for past acts of kindness, but also for the benefits we ourselves reap from these acts in our own day.
PS: Interestingly, the analogy of the well also appears in the Maggid’s commentary on this week’s haftarah. I hope to post a piece on this in the coming days.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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