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I have heard many Lubavitchers (generally from the older generation) speak about the importance of the Tehillim "Ohel Yosef Yitzchok" (OYY), the Tehillim printed by Kehot, the central Lubavitch publishing house. But not just any Tehillim printed by them under that name, but specifically the old, original print.

Kehot seemed to understand this "significance", because although they gave the Siddur Tehilas Hashem (TH) a makeover, changing the typeface and such, they didn't do so to the Tehillim OYY for many years. So even the recent clearer-printed Siddur THs have the old print Tehillim OYY in the back.

Kehot has only just recently released a clear print version of their Tehillim, which you can see here. Before that this was the staple; that's the one also that was printed in the back of their Hebrew siddurim, even the new clear print versions.

Below is a sample page of the old print Tehillim OYY. What was/is the "significance" of saying Tehillim from the old print OYY? I also remember reading comments which didn't have nice things to say about the new clear print version of the Tehillim on several Chabad sites. Why the old print?

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  • I assume the new edition contains the teamim and these introductions as well, right? – Kazi bácsi Dec 14 '17 at 19:35
  • @Kazibácsi Yes I believe so. I don't own one but I've seen them a number of times. I don't think there's anything different between the old/new print other than the clearness of the letters. – ezra Dec 14 '17 at 19:38
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    Based on my recollection: The Rebbe told the Kehot printers that he did not want them to alter the sefer that his father in law, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, used. – Menachem Dec 14 '17 at 23:13
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    @ezra: When Otzer Sifria Lubavitch came out with their reprinted Tehillim many years ago (circa 1996) - abebooks.com/Sefer-Tehilim-Ohel-Yosef-Yitshak-kolel/10096215253/… - , there was a written recording of a yichidus that Chanin had with the Rebbe that said as much. I saw it then, but don't remember where. Find that, and you've got your answer. Till then, it is just a comment – Menachem Dec 14 '17 at 23:26
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    On a side note, there was one thing corrected in the OYY tehillim sometime in the 90s. The old ones said יב instead of יג by kapitel יט possuk יג. It just so happens that that possuk is speaking about mistakes. – user613 Sep 13 '18 at 19:13
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I don't think it is about the typeface. If you look at the original introduction to Tehillim Ohel Yosef Yitzchok, the significance was in connecting to the original action taken by the previous Rebbe. It reads:

וכדי לעורר ולהמשיך זכותו עלינו שנתעורר באמירת התהלים בתשובה אמיתית ושתתקבלנה תפלותינו לרצון, קראנו להוצאת תהלים זה על שמו בשם אהל יוסף יצחק.

That action, like is mentioned in the opening words of the introduction, was the recital of Tehillim in a minyan each day according the division of Tehillim according to the days of the month or in a time of communal danger according to the days of the week. One example of the previous Rebbe discussing this is from his Igrot Kodesh, volume 4, page 388, paragraph 3. That letter was from 1938. This same idea was underlined in the accompanying booklet called Kovetz Michtavim which was printed in the original Tehillim Ohel Yosef Yitzchok.

Additional evidence that the typeface has nothing to do with it is from the action of the current Rebbe himself with the publication in 1953 of Tehillim Ohel Yosef Yitzchok HaShalem. That edition included the commentaries from Mikraot Gadolot together with the commentary of the Tzemach Tzedek (Yahel Ohr). The typeface for the Tehillim itself was completely different from the version you show above but the original introduction was still included.

  • So the question remains, why would the alter Lubavitchers insist on the old print of the Tehillim OYY? You've failed to answer that. – ezra Dec 15 '17 at 22:56
  • If people you call the ‘alter Lubavitchers’ are doing that, you should ask them. But their Rebbe did differently. Perhaps they should review the Kovetz Michtavim in the back of their Tehillim Ohel Yosef Yitzchok. In particular, the letter from Sunday, 15 Sivan, 5688 recording the words of the alter chassid of the Rebbe’s household, HaRav Eliyahu Chaim Althaus. Although the Rebbe expressed value in preserving printings of the actual handwriting from sofrim, like early editions of Torat Chaim & Torat Shmuel, he ultimately directed reprints in Ktav Ashurit to make the texts more accessible. – Yaacov Deane Dec 17 '17 at 17:44
  • If you are to be believed, then perhaps the reason these alter Lubavitchers insist on the old print of the Tehillim OYY is for pure nostalgic reasons, and nothing more. – ezra Dec 18 '17 at 2:48
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    @ezra That would be my guess. But just for clarity, I objected to the newer editions of the siddur Tehillim HaShem. There was new typesetting & in some cases change in page flow. But my personal objection was because someone had made the decision to remove certain piskei dinim of the Alter Rebbe which the Rebbe specifically included. When I questioned Kehot about it, no one could explain who authorized the edits. Later editions have been printed and the deleted portions have reappeared. They must have received quite a few complaints. – Yaacov Deane Dec 18 '17 at 3:00
  • @YaakovDeane And was this in the English Siddur TH or in the regular THs? Because if it was in the normal ones, then even I would be upset. – ezra Dec 18 '17 at 3:02

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