An Outpouring of Ahavah

There is the minhag — which is already mentioned in Shulchan Aruch — to recite Hallel in shul after Maariv on the Seder night. For those who have this minhag, this is the only time Hallel is recited as a nighttime tefillah.

What is the reason for this minhag? After all, Hallel is said again in its entirety as part of the Haggadah.

Pesach is a time when ahavas Hashem pours forth from every Jewish soul.

As Jews sit down to the Seder table, their exhaustion and aching bones tell of the untold hours of scrubbing and cleaning, often far surpassing what the halachah requires.

Millions of dollars were spent on matzos alone this year. Much of this money went not for the flour, water and labor, but for a host of stringencies that Jews have voluntarily taken upon themselves. Millions more were given by generous Jews to a host of kimcha d’Pischa organizations. The donors did not know who received their money; the recipients have no idea who their benefactors were.

Pesach is a time when we show the Ribbono shel Olam the longing in our hearts and the infinite ahavah we have for Him. We are eager to do more and more, like a son desperate to show his love and appreciation to his father.

That is the reason for the Hallel after Maariv, the Pieceszner Rebbe, zy”a Hy”d, explains.

It is not enough to say Hallel just during the Seder, for with one song the Jew cannot satiate the longing of his soul.  These are days when Gan Eden comes down to this world, on this night the Jewish soul is aflame with emotion; the Jew simply cannot control himself to wait until the middle of the Seder. Hallel bursts forth from deep within him as he concludes Maariv.

These emotions are certainly not limited to those who have this minhag. Each community and each family expresses their ahavas Hashem through keeping to their own mesorah and minhagim. The original reasons for many of the customs that have been passed down throughout the generations may no longer apply; they are faithfully adhered to nonetheless.

Every minhag, especially when it is challenging to keep, is another exhibition of ahavas Hashem.

In sefer Shoftim we learn about Gid’on ben Yoash, who was beating out wheat in a winepress when an angel of Hashem appeared before him. At that time, Bnei Yisrael were suffering terribly under the devastating cruelty of the Midianites and Amelekites, and Gid’on spoke to Hashem on their behalf.

Rashi teaches us that it was Pesach, and this is what Gid’on said: “Last night my father recited the Hallel and I heard him say, ‘b’tzeis Yisrael miMitzrayim – when Bnei Yisrael departed from Mitzrayim… [great nissim took place]’ but now He has [seemingly] forsaken us. If our forefathers were righteous, let Hashem perform wonders in their merit; and if they were wicked, then just as he did for them undeserved wonders, so should He do for us.”

The Ribbono shel Olam then told Gid’on, “Go, with this your strength, and save Yisrael from Midian.” Rashi explains that “this your strength” was the fact that “you advocated for My children.” Gid’on went on to merit a miraculous victory over the Midianites and Amalekites.

The Zohar informs us that on the night of the Seder, Hashem gathers all of the malachim in the Heavens so that they can listen to the recitation by us mortals of the miracles of Yetzias Mitzrayim. We have no inkling of the great pleasure Hashem has from our recital of the Haggadah.

This is an ideal time for advocating for Hashem’s children. In merit of the ahavah exhibited by Am Yisrael, may we merit the true Geulah speedily in our days.