Before we (Ashkenazim) recite the Hallel we make a blessing which concludes "likro et hahallel" (to read the Hallel). Is there any law which is derived from this? Does it invalidate reciting/saying the Hallel by heart?

The Sephardi custom is to say "ligmor et hahallel" (at least when reciting the whole hallel -- I haven't seen any other discussion) but "completing" the Hallel is essential.

[Hacham Ovadia] notes that the Maharam of Rotenberg (Rabbi Meir Ben Baruch, Germany, 1215-1293) held that it is actually preferable to recite the text of "Likro Et Ha'hallel." If one recites "Ligmor Et Ha'hallel," which means "to complete the Hallel," and he mistakenly omits a word from the Hallel recitation, then the Beracha that he recited would thus be rendered a "Beracha Le'vatala" (Beracha recited in vain). The Maharam therefore preferred reciting "Likro Et Ha'hallel" so that the Beracha would remain valid even in the event that somebody mistakenly omits a word.

Is the Ashkenazic choice of verb similarly essential?

  • The Maharam made up Likro. There is no old Ashkenzi tradition to say Likro. You have all the information about the meaning of this Brakha already. Everyone said Ligmor. Maharam decided to say Likro because he thought Ligmor meant (or could mean) to finish (when it probably originally meant "to study/recite" like the root of "gemara"). His practice caught on in his local Ashkenzi community. End of story. His innovating a new text doesn't change the nature of the obligation of the Mitzva. – Double AA Apr 2 '18 at 13:58
  • @DoubleAA For whatever it's worth, Seder Rav Amram Gaon also has it (הלק ב סימן מה). – magicker72 Apr 2 '18 at 14:16
  • @magicker almost certainly a bad/corrupted girsa (the work is generally full of then) – Double AA Apr 2 '18 at 14:16
  • @DoubleAA Indeed, hence the "for whatever it's worth". Do you know if there's a specific place in the Maharam's (or his students') writings where he explains what he did? – magicker72 Apr 2 '18 at 14:24
  • @magick The Tur discusses it in detail IIRC. Probably the commentaries there have the oldest source. See too Shut Rama on why he kept the practice (35 IIRC). Remember this is the same Maharam who used להתלבש בציצית since he wasn't wrapping then like an Arab – Double AA Apr 2 '18 at 14:28

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