Frequently Asked Questions About Tehillim (Psalms): Answers and Guidance

Authorship and Attribution

Although Tehillim is largely attributed to King David, many of the Tehillim were said by others, far before King David. Some Tehillim has been said by Adam, Avraham, Yaakov, Yosef, Moshe, King Solomon. Many of the chapters have their authors mentioned such as Asaf, and the Sons of Korach.


The Yehi Ratzon before Tehillim is said as a personal prayer and request that the Psalms about to be recited be accepted and considered as if King David were saying them himself. Although the words are being said in a context different than when they were originally composed, we beseech that the words, vowels, pronunciations, and tunes should stand in their own merit.

Introduction to Tehillim

Tehillim is the Hebrew name for the Book of Psalms, which is a collection of 150 religious poems and hymns that are an important part of Jewish scripture.

Tehillim derives its name from the Hebrew word ‘Tehillah,’ which translates to ‘praise.’ Within this text, each individual chapter is referred to as a ‘Tehillah.’ When discussing multiple chapters collectively, the plural form ‘Tehillim’ is used, reflecting the inclusion of 150 distinct ‘perakim’, or chapters.

Tehillim was originally composed with the intent of being sung in the Bais Hamikdash, or the Holy Temple, though it is noteworthy that King David made a specific request for its recitation in shuls, or synagogues, as well. Evidently, this request has been honored, as attested by the prominent role that Tehillim holds in our prayers and religious practices.

The overall theme of Tehillim is ‘Praising Hashem’. However, many chapters address King David’s personal struggle or concern for Klal Yisroel. We include the chapters related to praise in our daily prayers. We read the chapters related to King David’s struggles out of its original context as a plea of our own.

Structure and Organization

Chazal tells us that the 5 sections of Tehillim correspond to the five books of Moses: Bereshis (Genesis), Shemos (Exodus), Vayikra (Leviticus), Bamidbar (Numbers), and Devarim (Deuteronomy).

Source: Midrash Shocher Tov, Chapter 1

No. The order of Tehillim is an enigma and eludes any thematic or chronological order. King David’s death is mentioned at the end of Book Two. Many lines from later chapters precede that.

There are commentaries that attempt to string the flow of themes from one chapter to another, such as Rabbi Saadia Gaon.

Yes. There is a way the chapters can be divided evenly so that the entire sefer can be said over the course of a week. The order is as follows:

  • Day 1 (Sunday): Tehillim (Psalms) 1 – 29
  • Day 2 (Monday): Tehillim (Psalms) 30 – 50
  • Day 3 (Tuesday): Tehillim (Psalms) 51 – 72
  • Day 4 (Wednesday): Tehillim (Psalms) 73 – 89
  • Day 5 (Thursday): Tehillim (Psalms) 90 – 106
  • Day 6 (Friday): Tehillim (Psalms) 107 – 119
  • Day 7 (Shabbos): Tehillim (Psalms) 120 – 150

Source: Sefer Tzeidah LaDerech, 4th maamar, klal chamishi (this source has a slightly different breakdown of which chapters end and start each day, but it is THE original source. Artscroll Tehillim, and many other sources have the breakdown as outlined above)

1st of the MonthTehillim 1 – 9
2nd of the MonthTehillim 10 – 17
3rd of the MonthTehillim 18 – 22
4th of the MonthTehillim 23 – 28
5th of the MonthTehillim 29 – 34
6th of the MonthTehillim 35 – 38
7th of the MonthTehillim 39 – 43
8th of the MonthTehillim 44 – 48
9th of the MonthTehillim 49 – 54
10th of the MonthTehillim 55 – 59
11th of the MonthTehillim 60 – 65
12th of the MonthTehillim 66 – 68
13th of the MonthTehillim 69 – 71
14th of the MonthTehillim 72 – 76
15th of the MonthTehillim 77 – 78
16th of the MonthTehillim 79 – 82
17th of the MonthTehillim 83 – 87
18th of the MonthTehillim 88 – 89
19th of the MonthTehillim 90 – 96
20th of the MonthTehillim 97 – 103
21st of the MonthTehillim 104 – 105
22nd of the MonthTehillim 106 – 107
23rd of the MonthTehillim 108 – 112
24th of the MonthTehillim 113 – 118
25th of the MonthTehillim 119 (Letters א to ל)
26th of the MonthTehillim 119 (Letters מ to ת)
27th of the MonthTehillim 120 – 134
28th of the MonthTehillim 135 – 139
29th of the MonthTehillim 140 – 144
30th of the MonthTehillim 145 – 150
Psalms split for the month