All Souls - Remembering our Loved ones
The Reverend Charles Royden looks at
Halloween, All Saints and All Souls
1 November 2003
Allelulia comes from a Hebrew phrase ('hallelu yah') which means Praise the Lord!
'Hallel' is the Hebrew word for 'praise', and 'Yah' is the short form of 'Yahweh - the name for God.
Psalms 113-118 are called the 'Egyptian Hallel', and were used at the Jewish festivals. At Passover, psalms 113 and 114 were sung before the meal, with Psalms 115-118 being sung after the meal, so it is likely that these psalms were sung at the Last Supper.
Another group of psalms is known in Jewish liturgy as the 'Great Hallel' - psalms 120, 135 and 136.
From very early times, 'alleluia' was used by Christians as an expression of joy and praise, especially at Easter, when the minister or priest will announce:
Alleluia, Christ is risen!
and the congregation will respond:
He is risen indeed, alleluia!
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