When asking "Who enacted saying Hallel?", the Gemara answers "Nevi'im enacted to say it ...every time Yisrael are saved from distress". It then gives 6 answers who said it "first": Moshe and Yisrael said it when they left Yam Suf (they were afraid that the Egyptians were going to follow them) so they said "Lo Lanu Hash-m Lo Lanu" and Hash-m answered them "L'Ma'ani l'Ma'ani E'eseh". The same with the other 5 answers :Yehoshua and Yisrael said it when the kings of Eretz Yisrael opposed them; Devorah and Barak said it when Sisera attacked; Chizkiyah and said it when Sancheriv attacked etc- it appears that everyone who said it was still in grave danger at the time they davened (using the lashon of Hallel) and Hash-m caused a miracle thereby answering them.
These cases seem to run contrary to the Gemara's first answer which seems to imply that only after being saved (and we look back at how much danger we were in) - that is when we say Hallel to thank Hash-m for the salvation- but not during the actual time of distress itself?
Marc Chipkin, Johannesburg, South Africa
Rashi (DH "v'Al") seems to understand that there is no such opinion that the Takanah of the Nevi'im was that Bnei Yisrael should say Hallel when they are in danger, even though this clearly happened in the time of Moshe Rabeinu. The Ben Yehoyada points this out and says that he himself understands otherwise and that the Gemara is telling us that it is beneficial to say Hallel even when a bad Gezeirah is decreed (Lo Aleinu). The Iyun Yakov also says that this seems to him to be the thrust of the Gemara (unlike Rashi), but that it is clearly not the custom. It is possible that saying Hallel during times of trouble was not instituted by the Nevi'im because the thrust of saying Hallel during such a time, the Iyun Yakov explains, is that we are saying that whatever Hash-m does is always good, even when it is not openly apparent to us. Although the Gemara gives examples of this sort of recitation, it was done by people on a very high spiritual level. To make it a standard Takanah might "turn off" more people than it would help, when we explain to them that we should thank Hash-m for the great troubles that we have because they are really as great as the greatest good. Although true, the Nevi'im might have felt that Klal Yisrael as a whole would not benefit from such a Takanah (this might be the intent of the short comment at the end of the Iyun Yakov).
All the best,