Questions tagged [tehilim-psalms]

One of the books that make up the "Kesuvim" (or "Writings). Composed mostly by King David, but includes chapters by Adam, Avraham, King Shlomo (Solomon) and others.

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"I never saw a tzaddik be abandoned..." - how do we understand this?

At the end of bentching we say that "I was young, and I also became old, and I never saw a righteous person be abandoned, and his children asking for bread" (Tehillim 37:25). How do we reconcile that ...
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Nun in Ashrei- Psalm 145

The prayer Ashrei, which we recite three times a day, is an acrostic consisting of all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet except for nun (נ). Why is the nun omitted?
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Did King David's parents abandon him? (Psalm 27)

This time of year we say the Psalm 27 “LeDavid Ori”. It contains a line, "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord gathers me in." Why might King David have even thought of ...
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Why is Yitzchak spelled with a "sin" in Tehillim 105:9?

I just came across this strange variant spelling this morning. I've been in the habit of reciting Tikkun HaKlali recently and saw this in Artscroll's Tehillim this past Shabbat. Thinking it was a typo,...
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17 votes
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Why do Sifrei Emes use different taamim?

I know that the Sifrei Emes (Tehillim, Mishlei, Iyov) use a different system of taamim. Why is this? What is it about these books that makes it that they cannot — or should not — use the ...
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17 votes
4 answers
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Mizmor L'Toda with Melody

In the context of p'sukei d'zimra, the Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim 51:9 rules that "The Psalm of Thanksgiving [i.e. Psalm 100] should be recited with a melody, for all songs are destined to fall ...
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16 votes
4 answers
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How sick does someone have to be to be put on "the cholim list"?

By putting someone on a cholim list you are asking the tzibur to daven/ say tehillim on their behalf. How sick does someone need to be for it to be appropriate to put them on such a list?
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15 votes
2 answers
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Understanding of Ps. 137 before the exile

Psalm 137 starts (in my own translation) On Babylon's rivers, there, we sat, also cried, in our remembering Zion. and continues to describe the scene. Ibn Ezra cites some who hold that David ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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Why does Wednesday's shir shel yom include part of the next perek?

The Shir Shel Yom is (usually) a chapter of Tehillim said at the end of davening, unique to each day. That applies for every day except Wednesday. In some (many) customs, Wednesday's song is Tehillim ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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Sitting for "Ashre"?

I have seen people seemingly careful to sit down when beginning the paragraph of prayers that starts "Ashre yosh've vesecha" (Ps. 84:5). One such person told me that he was, in fact, careful to do so, ...
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Reconciling "פותח את ידך" and knowing people are starving?

Tehillim 145:16 (Sefaria's translation): פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת־יָדֶךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל־חַי רָצוֹן׃ You give it (the food mentioned in the previous pasuk) openhandedly, feeding every creature to its ...
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6 answers
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The power of saying tehillim

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 ...
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How does the moon cause harm? Tehillim 121:6

Psalms 121:6: יוֹמָ֗ם הַשֶּׁ֥מֶשׁ לֹֽא־יַכֶּ֗כָּה וְיָרֵ֥חַ בַּלָּֽיְלָה׃ The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. I understand that the sun "smiting" you can cause sunburn ...
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What is meant by the 974 "worlds" that were "created and destroyed"?

Midrash Tehillim 90:13 says that God created and destroyed 974 worlds before this one. What exactly does that mean? I've heard it used in defense of a modern understanding of evolution and cosmology ...
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Why is there a custom to join "Hashem" and "Elokenu" together in the line Al Taazvenu in Shema Kolenu in Selichot

In Shema Kolenu, based on the Posuk in Psalms 38:22 we say the phrase: Al Taazvenu Hashem Elokenu Al tirchak mimenu | Don't leave us Hashem Our God Don't distance yourself from us. The interesting ...
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Tehilim divided into five sections?

According to Wikipedia, Jewish tradition divides the book of Tehilim into five sections (1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, 107-150). This is unsourced there; the references at the bottom of the page ...
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11 votes
2 answers
823 views

Should we say Al Naharos Bavel?

Tehillim 137 is printed in several bentchers before birkas hamazon, but from what I have seen most people do not say it. What is the correct thing to do: say or omit? Are there different minhagim?
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Selah ~ Does it mean 'forever' 'certainly' 'basket' 'pause', 'yahoo', a kabbalistic meditative device, or none of the above?

Does anyone know a Jewish interpretation of "selah" in the psalms? Literally it seems to mean something about basket or hanging, but I don't know how this works into psalms. Jewish sites say it may ...
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3 answers
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Is it appropriately Jewish to use Psalms as a form of talisman?

While wandering around Israel, I noticed a group of youths asking the public to recite a psalm for the soldiers. Ok, I recited a Psalm. I assumed these prayers were fulfilling what I saw as the ...
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11 votes
1 answer
664 views

Source for Shir Shel Yom of the Gra

There is a custom of the Gra to replace the regular shir shel yom on holidays and various other special days with a psalm specific to that day. (This custom is followed by many Nusach Ashkenaz ...
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10 votes
3 answers
802 views

Who is the author of Tehilim 137?

Who is the accepted author of Psalm 137, and if it was David Hamelech, then is it accepted as a prophecy?
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10 votes
2 answers
409 views

What is the proof that HaShem's purpose in creation was to bestow good?

Rabbi M Ch Luzzatto in Derech HaShem (1:2:1) gives HaShem’s purpose in creation to “bestow of His good to another”. (Translation Aryeh Kaplan.) The translator in his notes gives several sources/...
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10 votes
2 answers
128 views

Connection between Tehillim 68 and the Song of Deborah?

I've noticed a number of similarities between the language of Tehillim 68 and the Song of Deborah (Shofetim 5). Some examples: Tehillim 68:8-9: אֱ‍ֽלֹהִ֗ים בְּ֭צֵאתְךָ לִפְנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֑ךָ ...
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9 votes
6 answers
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Why do the Sifrei Eme"s (i.e. Job, Proverbs, Psalms) have cantillation marks?

Why do the Sifrei Eme"s (i.e. Job, Proverbs, Psalms) have cantillation marks? Are they read to a tune or is it just punctuation for personal usage? Have they ever been read publicly with the tune? (...
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9 votes
1 answer
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Who divided the Tehillim into days?

Who divided the Sefer Tehillim into daily sections (both day of week and day of month)?
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8 votes
2 answers
337 views

Stress of הושיעה and הצליחה in Hallel

Why is הושיעה Mileel (penultimately stressed) whereas הצליחה is Milra (ultimately stressed) in Psalms 118:25?
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Psalm 14 and 53 are similar?

Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 are almost identical with little differences. Why is the same psalm repeated? Are these psalms composed by the same author? (EDIT: I already asked this same question in ...
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2 answers
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Why do people stand for Psalm 100?

Partway through the P'sukei d'Zimra section of the morning service is Psalm 100 (Mizmor l'Todah). Many, but not all, people stand for the recitation of this particular psalm. Prayer books vary, ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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When do we start reciting Psalm 27?

Yesterday being the 30th of Av (and Rosh Chodesh Elul), prompted a question at shul: exactly when do we start saying Psalm 27—on the first day of Elul or the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul? Most ...
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How do we translate חַטָּאִים?

Isaiah 1 (28): And destruction shall come over rebels and sinners together, and those who forsake the Lord shall perish. כח. וְשֶׁבֶר פֹּשְׁעִים וְחַטָּאִים יַחְדָּו וְעֹזְבֵי יְהֹוָה ...
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8 votes
2 answers
464 views

The order of Tehillim

Sefer Tehillim (Psalms) consists of 150 mizmorim, most likely compiled (and perhaps even entirely written) by King David. The mizmorim are not in chronological order following the events that inspired ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Why recite the Psalms verses out of order?

The Talmud (RH 32b) lists the three Torah verses suitable for mention in the Kingship section of Rosh Hashana's Musaf as Num 23:21, Deu 33:5 and Exo 15:18. The Tur (OC 591) among others quotes R' Hai ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Why put Psalm 130 right before barchu?

I've seen the custom quoted in many siddurim to recite Psalm 130 (שיר המעלות ממעמקים), with the Ark open, between ישתבח and ברכו during עשרת ימי תשובה. This particular Psalm was chosen because it's ...
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8 votes
0 answers
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Why don't we say the first verse of Psalm 6 in Tachanun?

When Ashkenazim say Tachanun, they say the text of Psalm 6 without the first verse introduction “To the conductor with melodies on the sheminith, a song of David.” In the text, we say, “I am weary ...
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7 votes
5 answers
3k views

What ancient sources discuss the meaning of Psalm 22?

Many Christians believe Psalm 22 refers to Jesus of Nazareth. How have Jews historically understood Psalm 22 and interpreted it?
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7 answers
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Unusual spelling of Joseph's name

In Psalm 81:6, why is Joseph's name spelled יהוסף? Seems to be the only place in the TaNaK that I currently know of that his name is spelled in this fashion.
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7 votes
2 answers
361 views

Why repeat the last verse of "Yoshev b'Seter Elyon"

In Nusach ashkenaz, as well as in "V'hi Noam" of Nusach haAri, the last pasuk of "Yoshev B'seter Elyon" (Psalm 91) is repeated. Why is that?
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7 votes
1 answer
253 views

Why do yekkes say Shir Mizmor Le'Osof each morning?

There is a very old Minhag Ashkenaz (i.e. practiced by yekkes) that every day after Shacharis (or Musaf) one says Psalm 83 (Shir Mizmor LeOsof). I have done this for a long time, however I am yet to ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Koren Siddur on Kal Atzmotai Tomarna

(Note: likely not relevant to those who Daven/read Hebrew with an Ashkenazi pronunciation.) This Shabbos I was asked to lead Pesukei Dezimrah at a shul I was visiting, and I was given a Koren Siddur ...
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7 votes
2 answers
633 views

What is the valley of deep darkness (or shadow of death) in Psalm 23?

In Tehillim 23, David says "Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me". Someone asked me if this "valley of darkness" is metaphorical or physical and, either ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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(Psalms 69 (14)) How do we understand אלקים ברב חסדך, rather than ה׳ ברב חסדך

I am used to the idea that the name אלקים connotes judgement and ה׳ mercy. So how is it in Psalms 69 (14) , the Psalmist says “אלקים ברב חסדך”?
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7 votes
2 answers
263 views

Why are there 7 inverted letter nuns in Tehillim 107?

In the Masoretic text of Tehillim 107 there are 7 pesukim which contain an inverted letter nun (similar to those in Sefer Bamidbar). In my standard edition Mikraot Gedolot none of the commentaries ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Halachot of Reciting Tehillim

When it comes to the daily prayers (eg. Shacharit), there are lots of various halachot of when, where, and how you should pray; what you can and can't wear, etc. However I have not seen any sources of ...
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1 answer
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Repeated final line in Psalm 150

During Pesukei D'zimra, we say a series of chapters from Tehillim. When we recite chapter 150, the final pasuk (kol haneshama...) is said twice. The ArtScroll Machzor (unlike the everyday ArtScroll ...
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1 answer
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Why is the end of Tehillim 60 the same as the end of Tehillim 108?

The last eight verses of Tehillim 60 and Tehillim 108 are virtually identical. Why is this so? Tehillim 60:7-14 לְ֭מַעַן יֵחָלְצ֣וּן יְדִידֶ֑יךָ הוֹשִׁ֖יעָה יְמִֽינְךָ֣ ועננו [וַעֲנֵֽנִי׃] ...
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7 votes
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Can one read Tehillim or Tanach at night? [duplicate]

I remember hearing people quote sources that say it is better not to reading Tehillim or Tanach at night. Does anyone know the source to this, and to why it should not be read at night? Does one ...
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7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Mizmor l'David (Psalms 23) at Shalosh Suedos

There is a common minhag (custom) to sing Mizmor l'David at Seudah Shlishis, the third Sabbath meal. It is common to sing this song three times in a row and I was asked this Shabbos by a friend why ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Why aren't Job or Psalms 90 in the Pentateuch?

In the Tanakh, the Jewish Biblical Canon, there are three categories of works: the Torah of Moses, and what are know as the 'Prophets' and 'Writings'. This categorization is outlined and mentioned in ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What is the shir shel yom for Rosh Hodesh Tevet according to the tradition of the GR"A?

My understanding of the tradition of the Vilna Gaon (whose tradition is followed in Israel) with respect to shir shel yom is that every day has exactly one shir shel yom. For example, during Hanukkah, ...
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6 votes
1 answer
393 views

Is it OK to say Tehillim whenever the inspiration strikes?

Barring a situation where prayer would be forbidden like an unclean area, is it OK to say Tehillim anywhere, at any time, even repeating the same chapter multiple times in succession?
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