Jewish New Testament (Complete Jewish Bible, translated by David H. Stern) says in Matthew 26:30 that 'After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives.' Other translations says 'a hymn'. This is the definition of the original word, according tho the blueletterbible.com.
1) to sing the praise of, sing hymns to
2) to sing a hymn, to sing
a) singing of paschal hymns these were Psalms 113 - 118 and 136, which the Jews called the "great Hallel"
I used to wonder what kind of hymn it was. Wow. this Jewish Bible says they sang 'Hallel'. The blueletterbible.com points to the specific hymns (Psalms 113-118, 136), and that caused me to be curious to see if there was a prayer called 'Hallel' in the Jewish prayer book.
A few years ago because I wanted to explore more, I bought a Jewish prayer book and some Cd's to listens to some prayers a cantor sings (chants). I looked for the song called Hallel in the prayer book...and there it was! Could this be the same Hallel as Jesus and his disciples sang? When we think about it, the psalms were written long before Jesus' time. It says taht 'Hallel' has been sung during the Passover and Sukkot. Matthew 26 is around the Passover...right before Jesus was crucified.
(edited from 08/08/2008 blog)