From recently reading "Why We Pray What We Pray" by Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel, I learned that the "Nishmat" prayer, usually associated with Shabbat and Festival morning services, was originally part of the Passover Seder and only got added to the morning services during the medieval period.

Specifically it references the Mishnah Pesachim 10:7. The book translates this slightly differently from the linked website saying: "They filled the third cup for him. He then recites grace after meals. Over the fourth cup he concludes the Hallel and recites the blessing of the song." The Talmud Bavli then clarifies this with: "What is the Blessing of the Song? Rav Judah said: 'They shall praise Thee, O Lord our God'; Rabbi Johanan said: 'The soul of all that lives' [i.e. Nishmat]."

My questions are:

1) What prayer is Rav Judah referencing? It sounds like Hallel, but aren't we discussing what is immediately after that?

2) Is Nishmat still commonly part of the haggadah? None of my printed haggadot list this prayer, even the ones that include a Birkat HaMazon and a complete Hallel. It can be found here a little past 3/4 of the way down the page. Is it commonly left out, or do I just have a collection of incomplete haggadot (some of them 50 years old)?

Edit: I did eventually find it in a 1966 haggadah of mine from Rabbi Nathan Goldberg.

  • 5
    it is in all of my haggadot
    – rosends
    Apr 20, 2014 at 18:43
  • 3
    It's in all of mine as well.
    – Daniel
    Apr 20, 2014 at 18:46
  • 1
    it mentions it in the gemara Apr 20, 2014 at 18:58
  • 1
    I've never seen (read: noticed) an Haggadah without one.
    – Seth J
    Apr 20, 2014 at 20:34
  • Hmm, I might have to drastically revise this question. In my "Haggadah for the American Family" (1958), neither Hallel nor Nishmat is in the English, but both are in the Hebrew (totally separate pages). That was misleading me. Likewise in a 1963 haggadah I have, it is in the Hebrew and not the English. I guess I am too used to having translations on facing pages for all the Hebrew, not just some of it.
    – Mike
    Apr 20, 2014 at 20:47

2 Answers 2


Both Rav Judah's and Rabbi Johanan's opinions are followed nowadays. During Hallel at the Seder, we say various chapters of Psalms (115-118, specifically), followed by a paragraph beginning "They shall praise Thee, O Lord our God" (יהללוך ה׳ אלקינו in Hebrew). It is this paragraph that Rav Judah was referring to. We then continue with Psalm 136 and Rabbi Johanan's Nishmat, at which point we conclude Hallel with the fourth cup and the appropriate after-blessing. As mentioned in the comments, this is true of all versions of the haggadah nowadays, whether your 1958 and 1963 English translations like it or not. ;)


Nishmas is part of the haggadah according to Machzor Vitri, who was a talmid of Rashi. The notes on bottom write that the shir mentioned in the gemara is nishmas kol chai.


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