During all of our holidays, Hallel makes up a big part of the tefillos. We say Hallel to thank Hashem for the miracles and events that led to each holiday we celebrate. All the holidays, that is, except for Purim. Why is this? Purim is one of the greatest miracles in our history, how come we don’t praise and thank Hashem like we do on every other holiday?
The gemarah in Megillah (14a) gives three answers: 1) Once Bnei Yisrael entered Eretz Yisrael, we no longer say Hallel for any miracle that took place outside Eretz Yisrael. The miracle of Purim took place in Ancient Persia. 2) The reading of Megillas Esther takes the place of Hallel. 3) Even though our lives were saved, we were not completely free since we were still under the rule of Achashverosh.
In reference to the second answer, I saw quoted in the name of Rav Yitzchak Hutner ZT”L, that the miracle of Purim was a hidden miracle; just by reading the story of the Megillah, you cannot tell that Hashem was behind the whole episode. Therefore, we read a “hidden” Hallel by reading the Megillah in which all the hidden miracles are mentioned.
For the first and last answer, the Kedushas Levi brings a creative explanation that can be classified as “chassideshe Torah.”
The last answer of the gemarah states that we don’t say Hallel on Purim because we were still under the rule of Achashverosh, not completely freed from the rule of the nations of the world. What was different about the miracle of Purim that we did not gain independence, from the miracle of Yetzias Mitzrayim where we did gain our independence? The answer lies in how the miracle was performed.
When Bnei Yisrael left Egypt, the miracles surrounding their leaving were supernatural events, obvious to everyone that Hashem must have been involved in taking Bnei Yisrael out. Since the Egyptians had to acknowledge Hashem as the ruler of the world, of course they had to let Bnei Yisrael free; how could they keep them as slaves when there was a more powerful bring ruling over all of them! However, by the miracle of Purim, there was no obvious display of Hashem’s power; every event that took place could be explained as natural circumstances. Therefore, there was no recognition of Hashem’s rule and Achashverosh felt no need to let the Jews go back to Eretz Yisrael.
Using this explanation, we can connect these two answers. The Kedushas Levi explains that the word Hallel originates from the word, “בהלו”, which means clarity. When Hashem’s role is clear, when there is no doubt as to His influence, then you can say Hallel. This is what is meant when the gemarah says that we do not say Hallel on a miracle done in Chutz La’aretz, outside of Eretz Yisrael, when the nations can still hold onto their doubts of Hashem, they are considered ‘outsiders.’ Similarly, the pasuk says, “הללו עבדי ה'” (Tehillim 113:1), only servants of Hashem can truly praise Him. Since the miracle of Purim was hidden, Achashverosh was able to hold onto his doubts of Hashem, so he didn’t feel a need to grant the Jews independence. Therefore, we cannot in good faith, say Hallel on Purim.
While we celebrate the past on Purim, we still have something to look forward to. There will come a day when we will be free of the rule of the nations, when we will be able to serve Hashem in the most complete way possible. On that day, we will truly say Hallel. Who knows, perhaps even on Purim!
A Freilechen Purim!
For any questions, comments, to subscribe to our email list, or to submit your own Dvar Torah, please email us at AIMeMtorah@gmail.com.
Please check out our other AIMeMTorah project, Nation's Wisdom!