(Mishnah): We finish Hallel over the fourth cup, and say Birkas ha'Shir.
Question: What is this?
Answer #1 (Rav Yehudah): It is 'Yehalelucha Hash-m Elokecha' (the closing Berachah of Hallel);
Answer #2 (R. Yochanan): 'Nishmas Kol Chai' is also part of (Tosfos; Rambam - is also called) Birkas ha'Shir.
(Beraisa - R. Tarfon): We finish Hallel over the fourth cup, and say Hallel ha'Gadol.
Some say, we say "Hash-m Ro'i Lo Echsar."
Question: What is Hallel ha'Gadol?
Answer #1 (Rav Yehudah): It is [Tehilim 136, i.e.] from "Hodu [la'Shem Ki Tov]" until [but not including] "Al Naharos Bavel;"
Answer #2 (R. Yochanan): It from "Shir ha'Ma'alos" (the last one, Tehilim 134 - Yerushalmi) until "Al Naharos Bavel;"
Answer #3 (Rav Acha bar Yakov): It is [Tehilim 135 and 136,] from "Ki Yakov Bachar Lo Kah" until "Al Naharos Bavel." (In our Tehilim, "Ki Yakov..." is verse 135:4 - presumably, Rav Acha considered it the beginning of a Perek - see Tosfos 117A and Yefe Einayim.)
Question: Why is it called Hallel ha'Gadol?
Answer (R. Yochanan): It says ["Nosen Lechem l'Chol Basar,"] that Hash-m from above gives food to all creations.
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): The 26 repetitions [of "Ki l'Olam Chasdo"] in Hodu correspond to the 26 generations from creation until Matan Torah - during that time Hash-m's Chesed fed the world (Maharsha - normally, one should not feed an ignoramus - Bava Basra 8A).
(Rav Chisda) Question: How do we understand "Hodu la'Shem Ki Tov"?
Answer: Thank Hash-m who collects a person's liability through the good that He gave him - He takes the ox of a rich man, the goat of an Oni, the egg of an orphan, or the hen of a widow (the monetary loss atones for the person).
'DIFFICULT' CHASADIM OF HASH-M
(R. Yochanan): [Obtaining] food is twice as hard as birth - regarding birth it says "B'Etzev [Teldi Vanim]," and regarding food it says "B'Itzavon (double pain) [Tochalenah]." (This teaches how much one must pray for food!)
(R. Yochanan): Food is harder than redemption!
A simple angel brings redemption - "Ha'Mal'ach ha'Go'el Osi" - but Hash-m Himself gives food - "Ha'Elokim ha'Ro'eh Osi."
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): When Hash-m told Adam "V'Kotz v'Dardar Tatzmi'ach Lach," he cried profusely - 'Will I eat from the same trough (i.e. the same food) as a donkey?!'
When Hash-m said "B'Ze'as Apecha Tochal Lechem," he was assuaged.
Version #1 (Reish Lakish): It would have been better had man borne the first decree (we would not need to toil for food)!
(Abaye): We still have a remnant of that situation - we eat still vegetation of the field [without toil - it grows by itself].
Version #2 (Reish Lakish): We are fortunate that we did not bear the first decree [to eat the same food as animals].
(Abaye): We still have a remnant of that situation - we eat still vegetation of the field [like animals]!
(Rav Shizbi): Providing food is as 'hard' as Kri'as Yam Suf - it says "Nosen Lechem l'Chol Basar" shortly after "L'Gozer Yam Suf li'Gzarim." (Ha'Rif - the 'difficulty' of Kri'as Yam Suf was to overcome the prosecution that Yisrael had also sinned and were not worthy of a miracle - likewise, it is 'difficult' to feed Resha'im`)
(R. Elazar ben Azaryah): Constipation is painful like the day of death, and [then] eliminating is as hard as Kri'as Yam Suf - it says "Miher Tzo'eh (this is like Tzo'ah with an Aleph, excrement) Lehipase'ach [v'Lo Yamus la'Shachas]," and then "Roga ha'Yam va'Yehemu Galav."
(Rav Sheshes): One who disgraces the festivals (he works on Chol ha'Mo'ed; Rambam (on Avos) - he does not honor Yom Tov) is like one who serves idolatry - right after "Elohei Masechah Lo Sa'aseh Lach" it says "Es Chag ha'Matzos Tishmor."
(Rav Sheshes): One who speaks or believes Lashon ha'Ra or testifies falsely should be cast to dogs - right after "La'Kelev Tashlichun Oso" it says "Lo Sisa Shema Shav" (do not bear a vain or false report) - we [also] read this "Lo Sasi" (do not cause others to bear it. Rashbam - "Lo Sisa" itself connotes one who speaks it - he bears it on his lips.)
HALLEL AND HALLEL HA'GADOL
Question: Since Hallel ha'Gadol is so special, why was standard Hallel enacted [for festivals and salvations]?
Answer #1: Standard Hallel mentions five matters - Yetzi'as Mitzrayim, Kri'as Yam Suf, Matan Torah, revival of the dead, and the birthpangs of Moshi'ach:
Yetzi'as Mitzrayim - "B'Tzeis Yisrael mi'Mitzrayim;"
Kri'as Yam Suf - "Ha'Yam Ro'oh va'Yanos;"
Matan Torah - "He'Harim Rokdu ch'Eilim;"
Techiyas ha'Mesim - "Es'halech Lifnei Hash-m;"
Chevlei Moshi'ach - it says "Lo Lanu Hash-m Lo Lanu"
Version #1 (R. Yochanan): This refers to subjugation by the [four] kingdoms.
Version #2 (R. Yochanan): This refers to the war of Gog and Magog.
Answer #2 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): It teaches that Tzadikim are spared from Gehinom - "Anah Hash-m Moltah Nafshi."
Answer #3 (Chizkiyah): It alludes to Tzadikim (Chananyah, Misha'el and Azaryah) entering a fiery furnace and emerging:
When descending, Chananyah said "Lo Lanu Hash-m Lo Lanu;" Misha'el said "Ki l'Shimchah Ten Kavod;" Azaryah said "Al Chasdecha v'Al Amitecha;" all of them said "Lamah Yomru ha'Goyim;"
When ascending, Chananyah said "Hallelu Es Hash-m Kol Goyim;" Misha'el said "Shabchuhu Kol ha'Umim;" Azaryah said "Ki Govar Aleinu Chasdo;" all of them said "V'Emes Hash-m l'Olam Halleluyah."
Some say that Gavri'el said "V'Emes Hash-m l'Olam Halleluyah:"
When Nimrod threw Avraham into the furnace, Gavri'el asked Hash-m permission to cool it and save him; Hash-m refused - 'I am unique in My world, and he is unique in his - it is fitting that the Unique save the unique';
Hash-m does not withhold the reward of any creature - He told Gavri'el that he may save three of Avraham's descendants.
(R. Shimon ha'Shiloni): When Nebuchadnetzar threw Chananyah, Misha'el and Azaryah into the furnace, the angel of hail asked Hash-m permission to cool it and save them;
Gavri'el: You will not demonstrate Hash-m's might - everyone knows that water extinguishes fire! I am the angel of fire - I will cool the furnace from the inside and heat it from the outside [to burn those who throw them in], it will be a double miracle!
Hash-m agreed; Gavri'el said "V'Emes Hash-m l'Olam Halleluyah:
(R. Noson): Fish in the sea said this verse:
(Rav Huna): In that generation [of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim], Yisrael had little faith in Hash-m.
(Rabah bar Mari): "Va'Yamru Al Yam b'Yam Suf" - Yisrael rebelled and said, just like we came up from the sea, the Mitzriyim will come up from another side!
Hash-m told the Sar (angel) of the sea to spit the Mitzriyim onto the dry land.
The Sar: Does a Master give a gift to His slave, and take it back?! (I want the Mitzriyim to be food for the fish!)
Hash-m: I will return to you one and a half times as much (this will be explained)
The Sar: A slave is too embarrassed to claim from his Master (perhaps You will have mercy on them and not give them to me)!
Hash-m: [The river] Nachal Kishon will be My guarantor.
The sea spit them up - "Va'Yar Yisrael Es Mitzrayim Mes Al Sefas ha'Yam."
Question: Why did Hash-m say that He will return one and a half times as much?
Answer: Paro's army had 600 chariots - "Shesh Me'os Rechev Bachur;" Sisera's army had 900 - Tesha "Me'os Rechev Barzel."
Sisera came against Yisrael with soldiers in iron armor; Hash-m took the stars out of their paths [to defeat them] - "Min ha'Shomayim Nilchamu ha'Kochavim;"
The stars descended and made the armored soldiers very hot; they entered Nachal Kishon to cool off; Hash-m told Nachal Kishon to repay the loan for which it was a guarantor - it cast them to the sea - "Nachal Kishon Gerafam Nachal Kedumim;"
Question: What is Nachal Kedumim?
Answer: It is the Nachal (river) that was a guarantor mi'Kedem (from of old).
The fish said "V'Emes Hash-m l'Olam Halleluyah."
(Reish Lakish) Question: What do we learn from "Moshivi AKeRes ha'Bayis"?
Answer: [The most pious part of] Keneses Yisrael says to Hash-m, Your children [through their sins in exile] made me [lowly] like a weasel that dwells in IKaRei Batim (underneath houses).
(Rava) Question: What do we learn from "Ohavti Ki Yishma Hash-m"?
Answer: Keneses Yisrael says to Hash-m, I am beloved to You when You hear Tachanunai (my supplications. Gevuros Hash-m (64) - obviously, one loves to have his prayer heard! Rather, the verse teaches that Yisrael is beloved to Hash-m at this time, for love is mutual.)
"Dalosi v'Li Yehoshi'a" - Keneses Yisrael says, 'even though I am DaLah (poor) in Mitzvos, [I declare Your oneness, so] I am special to You, and it is fitting that You Moshi'a (save) me.'
AGADATA OF R. YOSI
(Rav Kahana): When R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi fell sick, Rebbi asked him to retell some his father's teachings:
(R. Yishmael citing R. Yosi) Question: It says "Hallelu Es Hash-m Kol Goyim [Ki Govar Aleinu Chasdo]" - why should they praise Hash-m [on account of what He did for us]?!
Answer: They should praise Hash-m for His mighty and wondrous acts for them - all the more so we should praise Him, for His Chesed with us has been overwhelming!
(R. Yishmael citing R. Yosi): In the future, Mitzrayim will bring a gift to Moshi'ach, thinking that he will not accept from them - Hash-m will tell him to take it, for they hosted His children - "Ye'esayu ha'Shemanim Mini Mitzrayim;"
Kush will make a Kal va'Chomer - Mitzrayim enslaved Yisrael, nevertheless Moshi'ach accepts from them - we did not enslave Yisrael, all the more so he will accept from us! Hash-m will tell him to accept - "Kush Taritz Yadav lEi'lokim."
The evil kingdom [Romi] will make a Kal va'Chomer - they are not the brothers of Yisrael, nevertheless Moshi'ach accepts from them - we are their brothers, all the more so he will accept from us! Hash-m will tell Gavri'el "Ge'ar Chayas Kaneh [Adas Abirim]" - reprimand an animal (the evil nation) and acquire for yourself a congregation (Yisrael);
Alternatively - reprimand an animal that dwells among Kanim (reeds) - "Yecharsemenah Chazir mi'Ya'ar v'Ziv Sadai Yir'enah."
(R. Chiya bar Aba): Reprimand an animal that all of its decrees are written with one quill (all are directed against Yisrael).
"Adas Abirim b'Eglei Amim" - they slaughtered the congregation of mighty ones like calves of Amim (everyone, i.e. Hefker);
"Misrapes b'Ratzei Chesef" - they Matir Pas (open their hands) to take money, and do not fulfill the deal [for which they took tribute];
"Bizar Amim Keravos Yechpatzu" - what caused Yisrael to be Mefuzar (scattered) among the nations? Chaftzu (Yisrael desired) Kirvah (closeness) with them.
(R. Yishmael citing R. Yosi): There are 365 markets in Romi, and each has 365 towers, and each tower has 365 steps, and on every step is enough food to feed the world.
R. Shimon the son of Rebbi (or R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi, to Rebbi): For whom is all this food?
Rebbi: It is for you and your friend and their friends - "Sachrah v'Esnanah Kodesh la'Shem Lo Ye'atzer v'Lo Yechasen Ki la'Yoshvim Lifnei Hash-m Yihyeh."
Question: What does it mean "Lo Ye'atzer"?
Answer (Rav Yosef - Beraisa): "Lo Ye'atzer" - the wine, grain and oil [are too much to be stored]; "v'Lo Yechasen" - the treasury [cannot contain the gold and silver].
Question: What does it mean "Ki la'Yoshvim Lifnei Hash-m"?
Version #1 - Answer (R. Elazar): This is one who knows his colleagues' place in Yeshiva [because he is always there].
Version #2 - Answer (R. Elazar): This is one who welcomes his colleagues in Yeshiva (he clings to them; alternatively, he is there first - Maharsha).