4

The minhag I've seen in Ashkenazi synagogues is to say L’Dovid (Tehillim 27) morning and evening, from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Shemini Atzeres. The earliest source I can find for this is the Mishnah Berurah (581:2), which isn’t particularly that early of a source. Further, he doesn’t give a reason for this minhag.

What is the Mishnah Berurah’s source? What is the earliest source that discusses this minhag? What is the reason (reasons?) for it?

  • 1
    he.wikisource.org/wiki/מטה_אפרים_אורח_חיים_תקפא 581:6 puts it back about 75 years to 1834. This isn't a particularly time honored Minhag. There's some kabbalistic stuff a bit earlier than that but I don't pretend to understand it. In particular one of the earliest sources is the notorious judaism.stackexchange.com/a/86707/759 – Double AA Aug 15 '18 at 0:18
  • 1
    The Shelah's Siddur in 1717 known for its extra kabbalistic petitions bit.ly/2P6FXi2 doesn't have it. Here's R Yaakov Emden's Siddurin 1745 without it bit.ly/2vGV7T0 and then here's the 1880 reprint where the printer stuck it in bit.ly/2MMNEIJ . Siddur Vayetar Yitzchak 1785 without it bit.ly/2Md9wkp The Vilna Gaon (d. 1797) actively opposed saying it. The famous "Yekke" Roddelheim "Safah Berurah" in 1832 omits it bit.ly/2MMRy4x . The famous Derekh HaChayim Siddur in 1840 finally includes it bit.ly/2MpI2Y8 This "Minhag" is barely 200 years old! – Double AA Aug 15 '18 at 0:50
  • 1
    @DoubleAA Partial answer? – DonielF Aug 15 '18 at 1:08
  • I don't see how it answers any of your three questions. It just provides context for people who think this is a central part of the traditional Yamim Noraim experience, instead of just another late Segulah that somehow caught on recently. Honestly, you'd probably be much better off catching up on Korbanot or Pesukei Dizimra during that time. If you manage to say Korbanot fully every day then maybe you're at a level to care about advanced tricks like this. Perhaps your grandfather said this in Elul, but his grandfather probably didn't. – Double AA Aug 15 '18 at 1:11
  • 1
    @DoubleAA It answers the second question – DonielF Aug 15 '18 at 1:12
3

This article quotes:

...the Siddur Alyiyat Eliyahu and the Machzor by the same editor, Mikrai Kodesh, in both these siddurim the editor offers the following as the source for l'Dovid: "Sha'arei Tefilah which attributes this custom to R. Hayyim Kohen, a student of the AriZa"L, Shem Tov Koton."

As to why it is connected see this article which suggests:

The Mateh Ephraim (19th century, which predates the Mishna Brura) instructs one to follow this custom and the Elef L’mateh, commenting on the Mateh Ephraim, provides an explanation for the relationship of this psalm to this period of time which is based upon the Midrash Shocher Tov, a Midrash on Tehilim. The explanation provided is that ori refers to Rosh Hashana and yish’i refers to Yom Kippur, therefore it is appropriate to recite it during this period. There is also a further allusion in the psalm to Succos and therefore the Mateh Ephraim adds that it is his custom to recite this psalm until Shemini Atzeres (however the allusion to Succos is not found in the midrash).

  • Thanks! Can you include dates for the various sources in the first block quote? – DonielF Aug 15 '18 at 1:10
  • 1
    @DonielF you really have to read the article inside. That quote is not representative of the author's conclusion and is pretty outright misleading. He actually shows why that quote from a late 19th century siddur is mistaken and the manuscript of R H Kohen's writings includes no mention of Ledavid, while the Shem Tov Kattan actually says to say Ledavid on Mondays and Thursdays after Shmoneh Esrei, not morning and evening like you've seen – Double AA Aug 15 '18 at 2:37
  • Why is it said during all of Ellul? – DanF Aug 15 '18 at 14:14
  • 1
    @DanF For those who I’ve heard quote this line of reasoning they say that the same way the three Yamim Tovim are alluded to in the passage, they shoehorn Elul into the end, where it says לולא האמנתי, where לולא is אלול backwards. So basically this is a minhag that doesn’t go back so far and has a really flimsy reason behind it. – DonielF Aug 15 '18 at 19:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .