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