Is the word "hallelujah" constructed by four words or one word? Because it is constructed by four words in Chinese, and I hear my teacher said "halle" means praise, "lu" means "your," "Jah" means "G-d," and the word "Hallelujah" sounds a bit commanding. It that true? Does the word comes from Hebrew or Greek? I look forward to your reply.
Dear Lee Kong Giap,
The word hallelujah mentioned in Psalms is the Hebrew word for requesting a congregation to join in praise. "Hallel" means to recite praise, "hallelu" is the plural form. The grammatical extension "yah" is a way of expressing magnanimity. For example "merchav" means space, "merchavyah" means a vast space (Psalms 118:5); "shalhevet" means flame, "shalhevetyah" means a colossal flame (Song of Songs 8:10). Hence, halleluyah means "a great praise."
There are other ways of interpreting this word, as the Hebrew language does include the possibility for many meanings in the same word; thus it can also be understood to mean "praise G-d."
- Midrash Talpiyot
- Pesachim 117a