Hallel (pronounced haw-lul) is the Hebrew word for praise and thanksgiving, consisting of two parts – praise and God’s name Yahweh.
This term appears 96 times in the Old Testament and means to make a show or boast boisterously; to rave; or causeatively celebrate. This aptly describes David going wild for God without proper restraints or dignity.
Hallel, composed of Psalms 113 through 118, is traditionally recited at Passover Seders and other joyful Jewish holidays, including Israeli Independence Day and Jerusalem Day (which marks its unification). Reciting Hallel is considered a mitzvah – or commandment – celebrated with special blessings (Arachin 10b).
Passover Seders feature an extraordinary Hallel that cannot be found elsewhere in Jewish traditions. It begins with a blessing recognizing God for bestowing freedom and prosperity on his chosen people as well as His awesome power in sending rainwater from heaven down onto Earth to feed every living creature, especially those in need.
Passover Seders provide an opportunity to recite a shorter version of Hallel that includes only six Psalms (see Yad, HameZ u-Mazzah 8:5). This short version is typically recited on each of the last six days of Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot and Rosh Chodesh–indeed every celebration of the Hebrew month–except on Yom Hazikaron or Yom Kippur because these solemn observances require more solemn commemorations; nonetheless this shortened Hallel can even be heard on secular occasions such as birthdays of Israel’s founding fathers!
Tehilah, one of seven Hebrew words for praise, stands out as being particularly potency and is also the name of Sefer Tehillim (Book of Psalms).
Tehilah (or praise), in general, refers to an act of devotion expressed through acts such as worshipping, thanksgiving, or thanksgiving that express our gratitude and devotion for Him. Tehilah differs from traditional forms of praise in that it does not require singing – instead being spontaneous and unrehearsed such as giving thanks via simple claps, exclamations of thanks or full songs of thanks.
Gratefulness is at the foundation of all worship, yet God wants more from our relationship than simply saying thank you. He offers various avenues through which we can minister to Him.
Sometimes He speaks through words, such as when Daniel opened his windows in Babylon to pray (1 Kings 18:42). At other times He connects through movement or music – like Moses walking barefoot across the desert (Exodus 3:14) or Mel singing a new song for restaurant owner to help with their son’s stuttering (1 Samuel 20:21). Our Lord holds great reverence for praise and worship as this is how He seeks to connect with us.
Since biblical times, Jews have generally avoided speaking God’s name aloud out loud because they considered “Yahweh” too sacred for spoken word. Instead, they substituted Adonai – also pronounced Yahveh in Hebrew – which they believed more suitable. Adonai later came to be translated as Kyrios in Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible known as Septuagint.
Some scholars speculate that the final Heh of Yahweh may have been added sacredly as with Abraham and Sarah; other scholars propose it is from a Semitic root meaning “mountain-dweller”, similar to Akkadian shadu or shaddua and Akkadian yaw, suggesting it refers to El Shaddai in terms of God residing upon a sacred mountain.
Rabbis frequently refer to God in Hebrew as Shekhinah, which translates as “dwelling”. Rabbis frequently use this term when discussing his presence both within the Tabernacle and among humans. Additionally, Shekhinah ties back into Jewish mystical system Sefirot which helps explain God’s work within our world. Lastly, remember that names often had symbolic significance within Ancient Near Eastern culture, so many biblical names of God may contain symbolic meaning or be used metaphorically to illustrate important concepts.
There is much confusion surrounding how to pronounce the Hebrew word for God: YHWH (pronounced Yahweh), though most Jews accept that the name should be spoken out loud instead of reading as vowel-less syllable such as G-d or Gd (like in Bible author’s use of word as nouns and rather to connote divinity power of One). Some argue this name cannot be spoken aloud because its sacredness forbids this approach citing biblical authors’ use of this name for divine power of Oneness rather than as noun proper noun like Yahweh/pronounced Yahweh/pronounced/ Gd. Those taking this approach usually argue biblical authors’ use of this name denote divine power from oneness of One God/YHWH/The One).
Masoretes were pioneers of this scribal tradition of substituting other words for Tetragrammaton when they noticed their knowledge of pronunciation was diminishing. To ensure sacred texts were read correctly, they devised a system of notations called Yodi Shevata that indicated which vowels should accompany certain letters, providing clues as to how these would be properly read aloud.
This strategy worked effectively; even though YHWH appeared several times in the Old Testament, most pious Jews avoided saying its name out loud and instead substituted Adonai as an Aramaic term when reading scripture in synagogues. Early English Bibles like Tyndale’s and Geneva’s relied heavily on Jehovah as their standard translation for YHWH in biblical texts – this translation continues today among Jehovah Witnesses.
Elohim is one of the primary Old Testament names for God. While plural in form but understood singularly, as evidenced in Genesis 1:1 – 3:15, “In the beginning God (Elohim) created heavens and earth.” Elohim serves to foster monotheism while emphasizing His power; it also alludes to his Trinity – something more fully revealed when Jesus appeared.
It is an ideal chance to gain Hebrew skills and pronounce each syllable correctly, keeping in mind that Hebrew reading occurs from right-to-left. Pronunciate each syllable individually before joining them together into one word.
Psalm 136:6 contains this Hebrew phrase which means, “the Lord of heaven.” Praise and thank the Lord by using this name of Him; it serves as a powerful and wonderful way to recognize his blessings, while simultaneously reminding ourselves that He is all powerful, all-knowing, holy and all powerful again! Orthodox Jews often recite two Shema prayers daily which feature this expression to reinforce that we should love our Creator with all of our heart, soul and strength – as stated in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 which states this statement about loving Him completely with all aspects of yourself that is meant based on loving the Lord with all that is required by Deuteronomy 6:4-5 which states “You shall love the LORD your God with all these attributes, thus deepening your relationship with Him”. This prayer serves to remind us how to love our relationship with our creator is meant to evolve!
Jewish people employ Adonai in many different contexts; it may mean “my Lord,” serve as a term of respect or be used to refer to God Himself (in fact, Adonai is used by Scripture approximately 300 times!).
It is often abbreviated to YHWH, the Tetragrammaton (yud-heh-vav-heh) representing God as his personal name, to emphasize or create intimacy between worshippers and God. Rephrasing of Tetragrammaton into Adonai dates back to 3rd Century BCE as in Ruth 2:8, when Boaz addressed reapers he said “May Adonai [yhvh] be with you!”
Hallel is an important Hebrew word related to praise, meaning “praise.” Another prominent term related to praise in this language is tehilah – translated “praise song”. Tehilah can also be found within Psalms Book.
El Shaddai is an imposing name, signifying God’s sovereignty over all. This title also indicates his power over disease, death, sin and Satan – this includes disease itself! El Shaddai means “The Almighty”, coming from its roots which have their origin in female breasts symbolizing power and strength.
Genesis gives us our first mention of El Shaddai when God revealed himself as such to Abraham at age 99, asking him to walk alongside Him and promising a covenant that would bless his descendants.
There are at least 40 instances of Jacob in the Old Testament, many in Job’s Book. When God speaks directly to Jacob in Genesis 35:11, He reminds him of Abraham’s covenant promise for Jacob’s great nationhood and multiple descendants including kings.
Some Messianic teachers believe the name comes from Akkadian word shadu, meaning mountain. This makes sense since God not only dwells in heaven but also on Mount Sinai – another mountaintop where He dwells.