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Daily Tehillim - Psalms

Chapters 35-38

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Special Custom for the Month of Elul and High Holidays
The Baal Shem Tov instituted a custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the 1st of Elul until Yom Kippur (on Yom Kippur the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms).
See below for today's additional chapters.
Chapter 35
This psalm is an awe-inspiring and wondrous prayer about David's enemies-that they be as chaff before the wind, chased by the angel of God. It also declares that everything comes about through God's help.
1. By David. Fight my antagonists, O Lord, battle those who battle against me.
2. Take hold of shield and armor and arise to help me.
3. Draw a spear, and bar the way before my pursuers; say to my soul, "I am your deliverance.”
4. Let those who seek my life be shamed and disgraced; let those who devise my harm retreat and be humiliated.
5. Let them be as chaff before the wind; let the angel of the Lord thrust them away.
6. Let their path be dark and slippery; let them be chased by the angel of the Lord.
7. For without cause have they laid their nets in the pit for me; without cause have they dug [pits] for my soul.
8. Let darkness come upon him unawares; let the very snare that he hid trap him, in darkness he will fall in it.
9. And my soul shall exult in the Lord, rejoice in His deliverance.
10. My entire being shall declare: Lord, who is like You? Who saves the poor from one stronger than he, the poor and the destitute from one who would rob him.
11. Corrupt witnesses rise up [against me], they demand of me things of which I do not know.
12. They repay me evil for good, death for my soul.
13. But I wore sackcloth when they were ill; I afflicted my soul with fasting. Let my prayer return upon my own bosom.
14. As if it were my friend, my brother, I went about; like a mother in mourning, I was bent over in gloom.
15. But when I limped, they rejoiced and gathered; the lowly gathered against me-even those whom I do not know; they laugh and cannot be quiet.
16. With flattery and scorn, for the sake of a meal,1 they gnash their teeth at me.
17. My Lord, how long will You look on? Restore my life from their darkness; from young lions, my soul.
18. I will thank You in a great congregation, amidst a mighty nation I will praise You.
19. Let not those who hate me without cause rejoice over me; [let not] those who despise me without reason wink their eye.
20. For they speak not of peace, rather they scheme deceitful matters against the broken of the land.
21. They opened their mouths wide against me, they said, "Aha! Aha! Our eyes have seen [his misfortune].”
22. You saw, Lord, be not silent; my Lord, be not distant from me.
23. Rouse and awaken Yourself to my judgement, to my cause, my God and my Lord.
24. Judge me according to your righteousness, Lord my God; let them not rejoice over me.
25. Let them not say in their hearts, "Aha! We have our desire!" Let them not say, "We have swallowed him!”
26. Let them be shamed and disgraced together, those who rejoice at my trouble; let them be clothed in shame and humiliation, those who raise themselves arrogantly over me.
27. Let those who desire my vindication sing joyously and be glad; let them say always, "Let the Lord be exalted, Who desires the peace of His servant.”
28. My tongue will speak of Your righteousness, Your praise, all day long.

Footnotes
1.

These men flatter Saul in order to obtain free meals (Rashi).

Chapter 36
This psalm is a message to those who follow their evil inclination, that tells them, "Do not place the fear of God before you," and brings them to sin by beautifying evil deeds in their eyes. For so is his way: "He descends (to earth) and corrupts, then goes up (to the Heavenly Court) and prosecutes."
1. For the Conductor, by the servant of the Lord, by David.
2. [I think] in my heart: Sin says to the wicked, "There is none [who need place] the fear of God before his eyes.”
3. For Sin makes itself appealing to him, until his iniquity be found and he is hated.
4. The speech of his mouth is evil and deceit; he fails to reason, to improve.
5. On his bed he contemplates evil, he stands in a path that is not good; he does not despise evil.
6. O Lord, Your kindness is in the heavens; Your faithfulness is till the skies.
7. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your judgements extend to the great deep; man and beast You deliver, O Lord.
8. How precious is Your kindness, O God; man takes shelter in the shadow of Your wings.
9. They will be filled by the abundance of Your house; from the stream of Your Eden, You will give them to drink.
10. For the source of life is with You; in Your Light do we see light.
11. Extend Your kindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright of heart.
12. Let not the foot of the arrogant overtake me; let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
13. There1 the doers of evil fell, thrust down, unable to rise.

Footnotes
1.

In the very place they intended to persecute me (Metzudot).

Chapter 37
King David exhorts his generation not to be jealous of the prosperity of the wicked, for it may lead to falling into their ways. Rather, put your trust in God, conduct yourselves with integrity, and God will take care of everything.
1. By David. Do not compete with the wicked; do not envy doers of injustice.
2. For like grass they will be swiftly cut down; like green vegetation they will wither.
3. Trust in the Lord and do good; then will you abide in the land and be nourished by faith.
4. Delight in the Lord, and He will grant you the desires of your heart.
5. Cast your needs upon the Lord; rely on Him, and He will take care.
6. He will reveal your righteousness like the light, your justness like the high noon.
7. Depend on the Lord and hope in Him. Compete not with the prosperous, with the man who invents evil schemes.
8. Let go of anger, abandon rage; do not compete with [one who intends] only to harm.
9. For the evildoers will be cut down; but those who hope in the Lord, they will inherit the earth.
10. For soon the wicked one will not be; you will gaze at his place and he will be gone.
11. But the humble shall inherit the earth, and delight in abundant peace.
12. The wicked one plots against the righteous, and gnashes his teeth at him.
13. My Lord laughs at him, for He sees that his day will come.
14. The wicked have drawn a sword and bent their bow to fell the poor and destitute, to slaughter those of upright ways.
15. But their sword shall enter their own hearts, and their bows shall break.
16. Better the little of the righteous, than the abundant wealth of the wicked.
17. For the strength of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord supports the righteous.
18. The Lord appreciates the days of the innocent; their inheritance will last forever.
19. They will not be shamed in times of calamity, and in days of famine they will be satisfied.
20. For the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord are as fattened sheep: consumed, consumed in smoke.
21. The wicked man borrows and does not repay; but the righteous man is gracious and gives.
22. For those blessed by Him will inherit the earth, and those cursed by Him will be cut off.
23. The steps of man are directed by God; He desires his way.
24. When he totters he shall not be thrown down, for the Lord supports his hand.
25. I have been a youth, I have also aged; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his offspring begging bread.
26. All day he is kind and lends; his offspring are a blessing.
27. Turn away from evil and do good, and you will dwell [in peace] forever.
28. For the Lord loves justice, he will not abandon his pious ones-they are protected forever; but the offspring of the wicked are cut off.
29. The righteous shall inherit the earth and dwell upon it forever.
30. The mouth of the righteous one utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
31. The Torah of his God is in his heart; his steps shall not falter.
32. The wicked one watches for the righteous man, and seeks to kill him.
33. But the Lord will not abandon him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34. Hope in the Lord and keep His way; then He will raise you high to inherit the earth. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35. I saw a powerful wicked man, well-rooted like a vibrant, native tree.
36. Yet he vanished, behold he was gone; I searched for him, but he could not be found.
37. Watch the innocent, and observe the upright, for the future of such a man is peace.
38. But sinners shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked is cut off.
39. The deliverance of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of distress.
40. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they have put their trust in Him.

Chapter 38
A prayer for every individual, bewailing the length of the exile. One who is in distress should recite this psalm, hence its introduction, "A psalm... to remind" (to remind us to recite it in times of distress). One can also derive many lessons from it.
1. A psalm by David, to remind.
2. O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chastise me in Your wrath.
3. For Your arrows have landed in me, Your hand descended upon me.
4. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your rage, no peace in my bones because of my sin.
5. For my iniquities have flooded over my head; like a heavy load, they are too heavy for me.
6. My wounds are rotted; they reek because of my foolishness.
7. I am bent and extremely bowed; all day I go about in gloom.
8. My sides are inflamed; there is no soundness in my flesh.
9. I am weakened and extremely depressed; I howl from the moaning of my heart.
10. My Lord, all that I desire is before You; my sighing is not hidden from You.
11. My heart is engulfed, my strength has left me; the light of my eyes they, too, are not with me.
12. My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction; my intimates stand afar.
13. The seekers of my life have laid traps; those who seek my harm speak destructiveness; they utter deceits all day long.
14. But I am like a deaf man, I do not hear; like a mute that does not open his mouth.
15. I was like a man that does not perceive, and in whose mouth there are no rebuttals.
16. Because for You, O Lord, I wait; You will answer, my Lord, my God.
17. For I said, "Lest they rejoice over me; when my foot falters they will gloat over me.”
18. For I am accustomed to limping, and my pain is constantly before me.
19. For I admit my iniquity; I worry because of my sin.
20. But my enemies abound with life; those who hate me without cause flourish.
21. Those who repay evil for good resent me for my pursuit of good.
22. Do not forsake me, O Lord; do not be distant from me, my God.
23. Hurry to my aid, O my Lord, my Salvation.

Additional Three Chapters
The Baal Shem Tov instituted a custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the 1st of Elul until Yom Kippur (on Yom Kippur the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms).
Today's Chapters are 16, 17 and 18.
Chapter 16
When one is in need, he should not implore God in his own merit, for he must leave his merits for his children.
1. A michtam,1 by David. Watch over me, O God, for I have put my trust in You.
2. You, [my soul,] have said to God, "You are my Master; You are not obligated to benefit me.”
3. For the sake of the holy ones who lie in the earth, and for the mighty-all my desires are fulfilled in their merit.
4. Those who hasten after other [gods], their sorrows shall increase; I will not offer their libations of blood, nor take their names upon my lips.
5. The Lord is my allotted portion and my share; You guide my destiny.
6. Portions have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, a beautiful inheritance is mine.
7. I bless the Lord Who has advised me; even in the nights my intellect admonishes me.2
8. I have set the Lord before me at all times; because He is at my right hand, I shall not falter.
9. Therefore my heart rejoices and my soul exults; my flesh, too, rests secure.
10. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, You will not allow Your pious one to see purgatory.
11. Make known to me the path of life, that I may be satiated with the joy of Your presence, with the bliss of Your right hand forever.

Footnotes
1.

A psalm that was especially precious to David

2.

To fear and love God (Rashi)

Chapter 17
A loftily person should not ask God to test him with some sinful matter, or other things. If one has sinned, he should see to reform himself, and to save many others from sin.
1. A prayer by David. Hear my sincere [plea], O Lord; listen to my cry; give ear to my prayer, expressed by guileless lips.
2. Let my verdict come forth from before You; let Your eyes behold uprightness.
3. You have probed my heart, examined it in the night, tested me and found nothing; no evil thought crossed my mind; as are my words so are my thoughts.
4. So that [my] human deeds conform with the words of Your lips, I guard myself from the paths of the lawbreakers.
5. Support my steps in Your paths, so that my feet shall not falter.
6. I have called upon You, for You, O Lord, will answer me; incline Your ear to me, hear what I say.
7. Withhold Your kindness-O You who delivers with Your right hand those who put their trust in You-from those who rise up against [You].
8. Guard me like the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings
9. from the wicked who despoil me, [from] my mortal enemies who surround me.
10. Their fat has closed [their hearts]; their mouths speak arrogantly.
11. They encircle our footsteps; they set their eyes to make us stray from the earth.
12. His appearance is like a lion longing to devour, like a young lion lurking in hiding.
13. Arise, O Lord! Confront him, bring him to his knees; rescue my soul from the wicked [who serves as] Your sword.
14. Let me be among those whose death is by Your hand, O Lord, among those who die of old age, whose portion is eternal life and whose innards are filled with Your concealed goodness; who are sated with sons and leave their abundance to their offspring.
15. Because of my righteousness, I shall behold Your countenance; in the time of resurrection, I will be sated by Your image.

Chapter 18
If one merits a public miracle, he should offer a song to God, including in his song all the miracles that have occurred since the day the world was created, as well as the good that God wrought for Israel at the giving of the Torah. And he should say: "He Who has performed these miracles, may He do with me likewise."
1. For the Conductor. By the servant of the Lord, by David, who chanted the words of this song to the Lord on the day the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.
2. He said, "I love You, Lord, my strength.
3. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my rescuer. My God is my strength in Whom I take shelter, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
4. With praises I call upon the Lord, and I am saved from my enemies.
5. For the pangs of death surrounded me, and torrents of evil people terrified me.
6. Pangs of the grave encompassed me; snares of death confronted me.
7. In my distress I called upon the Lord, I cried out to my God; and from His Sanctuary He heard my voice, and my supplication before Him reached His ears.
8. The earth trembled and quaked; the foundations of the mountains shook-they trembled when His wrath flared.
9. Smoke rose in His nostrils, devouring fire blazed from His mouth, and burning coals flamed forth from Him.
10. He inclined the heavens and descended, a thick cloud was beneath His feet.
11. He rode on a cherub and flew; He soared on the wings of the wind.
12. He made darkness His concealment, His surroundings His shelter-of the dense clouds with their dark waters.
13. Out of the brightness before Him, His clouds passed over, with hailstones and fiery coals.
14. The Lord thundered in heaven, the Most High gave forth His voice-hailstones and fiery coals.
15. He sent forth His arrows and scattered them; many lightnings, and confounded them.
16. The channels of water became visible, the foundations of the world were exposed-at Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
17. He sent from heaven and took me; He brought me out of surging waters.
18. He rescued me from my fierce enemy, and from my foes when they had become too strong for me.
19. They confronted me on the day of my misfortune, but the Lord was my support.
20. He brought me into spaciousness; He delivered me because He desires me.
21. The Lord rewar-ded me in accordance with my righteousness; He repaid me according to the cleanliness of my hands.
22. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not transgressed against my God;
23. for all His laws are before me, I have not removed His statutes from me.
24. I was perfect with Him, and have guarded myself from sin.
25. The Lord repaid me in accordance with my righteousness, according to the cleanliness of my hands before His eyes.
26. With the kindhearted You act kindly, with the upright man You act uprightly.
27. With the pure You act purely, but with the crooked You act cun- ningly.
28. For the destitute nation You save, but haughty eyes You humble.
29. Indeed, You light my lamp; the Lord, my God, illuminates my darkness.
30. For with You I run against a troop; with my God I scale a wall.
31. The way of God is perfect; the word of the Lord is pure; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
32. For who is God except the Lord, and who is a rock except our God!
33. The God Who girds me with strength, and makes my path perfect.
34. He makes my feet like deers', and stands me firmly on my high places.
35. He trains my hands for battle, my arms to bend a bow of bronze.
36. You have given me the shield of Your deliverance, Your right hand upheld me; Your humility made me great.
37. You have widened my steps beneath me, and my knees have not faltered.
38. I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back until I destroyed them.
39. I crushed them so that they were unable to rise; they are fallen beneath my feet.
40. You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued my adversaries beneath me.
41. You have made my enemies turn their backs to me, and my foes I cut down.
42. They cried out, but there was none to deliver them; to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
43. I ground them as the dust before the wind, I poured them out like the mud in the streets.
44. You have rescued me from the quarrelsome ones of the people, You have made me the head of nations; a nation I did not know became subservient to me.
45. As soon as they hear of me they obey me; strangers deny to me [their disloyalty].
46. Strangers wither away, they are terrified in their strongholds.
47. The Lord lives; blessed is my Rock; exalted is the God of my deliverance.
48. You are the God Who executes retribution for me, and subjugates nations under me.
49. Who rescues me from my enemies, Who exalts me above my adversaries, Who delivers me from the man of violence.
50. Therefore I will laud You, Lord, among the nations, and sing to Your Name.
51. He grants His king great salvations, and bestows kindness upon His anointed, to David and his descendants forever."


Tehilllim Ohel Yoseph Yitzchok, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society.
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