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When I was starting to become observant, at the end of shacharis one day, someone asked me "are you finished with tehillim?". I told them I don't know what that is. They told me "if we knew what was happening in heaven while we are saying tehillim, we would be saying them all day non stop".

So, a few years later, I still would like to know what the power of tehillim is. What corrective action are we taking by saying them?

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This booklet translates a collection of letters from the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe on the subject of reciting Tehillim: hebrewbooks.org/15690 –  Menachem Jun 20 '12 at 9:01
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At one point as a young student I was informed that a neighbor's wife had become seriously ill, and I began reciting a very lengthy regimen of Tehillim for her every morning after Shaharith, including sections of 119 spelling her name. This made me very late for Shi'ur on a frequent basis, and my Rav finally asked me why I was so late so often. When I told him why, he suggested that it would be better to interrupt my Tehillim to come to Shi'ur on time, because the source we have for the power of Tehillim is a Midrash that says that David HaMelech asked HaShem to receive Tehillim the way He receives Talmud Torah (ie., to make the recitation of Tehillim as powerful as Talmud Torah). The Midrash does not tell us whether or how HaShem responded. Hence, Talmud Torah is at least as powerful as Tehillim. Not to say Tehillim isn't powerful or important, just putting it in perspective. Talmud Torah KeNeged Kulam.

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re: "The Midrash does not tell us whether or how HaShem responded." see books.google.com/… for a response –  Shmuel Brin Jun 18 '12 at 21:30
    
If I read that correctly, Kol SheKen? –  Seth J Jun 18 '12 at 21:46
    
read the second page –  Shmuel Brin Jun 18 '12 at 21:52
    
Hmm.... judaism.stackexchange.com/a/752/5 –  Seth J Jun 18 '12 at 22:04
    
FWIW, I hear it, but I don't love it. –  Seth J Jun 18 '12 at 22:05
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This individual was quoting the Tzemach Tzedek (3rd Lubavitcher Rebbe) who is quoted in HaYom Yom 24th of Shvat:

"If you only knew the power that lies in the verses of Tehillim and their effects in the celestial heights, you would recite them all the time. Know that the chapters of Tehillim break through all barriers and soar aloft from level to level unimpeded. They intercede before the Master of the Universe and secure their effect with kindess and mercy."

In his diary (see Tehillim Ohel Yosef Yitzchak p. 210), the Rebbe Rayatz (6th Lubavitcher Rebbe) relates a story surrounding this statement that is to long for me to type.

The summary is as follows. The Tzemach Tzedek saw in a vision a very harsh decree against the Jewish people, especially the Torah community. Nothing could overturn in. The Tzemach Tzedek told his oldest son to get a minyan to say the entire book of Tehillim no later than 4am. For 53 days the minyan took place and then the Tzemach Tzedek had a vision of his grandfather the Alter Rebbe holding 53 books of tehillim smiling.

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The story as told in Tehillim does not mention that Tzemach Tzedek had a vision after the decree was nullified. - English version hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=15690&pgnum=46 –  Menachem Jun 20 '12 at 8:59
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Your question addressed here:

http://ajewishsoul.blogspot.com/2006/07/incredible-power-of-tehillim-parts-1-2.html

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Some background around the link would be nice. –  user1292 Jun 18 '12 at 21:18
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It is well known that Dawid HaMelekh was the soul of all Israel, as written "The praise of Hashem shall my mouth speak and all flesh shall bless His Holy Name." The reason it says the words "all flesh" is meaning at any time (Yismah Yisrael, Parashat Eqeb). Meaning whenever one is in need, he should pray Tehilim. The Semah Sedeq once said that if we knew the strength of the Tehilim, and the Heavens we would recite it every moment.Their actions make kindness and mercy (ibid.). The Emeq HaMelekh writes (pg. 15) that the book of Tehilim declines many stumbling blocks and some damages from him and his household members, and his family as well. It makes great blessings goodness and merits to him. It is also interesting that the Magen U'Shemesh writes that Gimatria of the one hundred and fifty Pesuqim is corresponding to the Gimatria of Pidion (redemption). The Midrash in Pinhas writes that whatever a person needs, he should recite Tehilim for it. (He should recite it consecutively) and not stop for the Yehi Rason between the books of Tehilim, until he has completed the entire Sefer. Through the Tehilim we bring closer the redemption (Midrash Tehilim, Shir HaShirim). "Whoever recites Tehilim every day, it is as if we fulfilled the entire Torah (Rabenu Efraim, Parashat WeZot HaBerakha)." One who wants to have a connection with Hashem, should recite Tehilim (Shala, Nazir 257). The Noam Elimelekh writes that Tehilim have the possibility to make drastic changes and there is no Sat-an or obstacle stopping them. The Shebut Ya'aqob writes (Heleq Bet, Yoreh De'ah 44) that if one desires to make many prayers, he should recite Tehilim, because it is leaning Torah, and there are many good omens in it. Rabbi Haim Palagi writes (Minhagi HaHabi"f 80) that one who recites Tehilim (and Brikat HaMazon) daily lengthen their years and days. Rabbi Haim Palagi also writes that this worlds stands upon Tehilim, and one redeems themselves from any damages and redemption will come through the recitation of Tehilim (Haqdama, Kol HaKatub LeHaim). One who recites Tehilim daily merits to be under the Kise HaKabod (Chair of Honor). We have nothing greater than Tehilim because contains everything (Shala). There are countless compliments and praises of the sacred and holy book of Tehilim, and one could go on and on upon its' praise, so always remember, we can save many people from sickness or anything bad by just reciting Tehilim!

From here.

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