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Daily Tehillim - Psalms

Chapters 39-43

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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 39
David's prayer bewailing his suffering. But it is not suffering itself that pains him, rather he is saddened by its disturbing his Torah study. For man's days are few, "and if not now, when (will he study)?" for he may die, today or tomorrow. He therefore requests that his suffering be removed, to enable him to study Torah and acquire a place in the World to Come.
1. For the Conductor, for yedutun,1 a psalm by David.
2. I said that I would guard my ways from sinning with my tongue; I would guard my mouth with a muzzle, [even] while the wicked one is before me.
3. I became mute with stillness, I was silent [even] from the good, though my pain was crippling.
4. My heart grew hot within me, a fire blazed in my utterance, as I spoke with my tongue.
5. O Lord, let me know my end and what is the measure of my days, that I may know when I will cease.
6. Behold, like handbreadths You set my days; my lifetime is as naught before You. But all is futility, all mankind's existence, Selah.
7. Only in darkness does man walk, seeking only futility; he amasses riches and knows not who will reap them.
8. And now, what is my hope, my Lord? My longing is to You.
9. Rescue me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of the degenerate.
10. I am mute, I do not open my mouth, for You have caused [my suffering].
11. Remove Your affliction from me; I am devastated by the attack of Your hand.
12. In reproach for sin You chastened man; like a moth, You wore away that which is precious to him. All mankind is nothing but futility, forever.
13. Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry; do not be silent to my tears, for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner like all my forefathers.
14. Turn from me, that I may recover my strength, before I depart and I am no more.

Footnotes
1.

A musical instrument (Metzudot).

Chapter 40
The psalmist speaks of the numerous wonders that God wrought for the Jewish people, asking: "Who can articulate His might? I would relate and speak of them, but they are too numerous to recount!" He created the world and split the sea for the sake of Israel, [yet] He desires no sacrifices, only that we listen to His voice.
1. For the Conductor, a psalm by David.
2. I put my hope in the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.
3. He raised me from the turbulent pit, from the slimy mud, and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps.
4. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God; multitudes will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.
5. Fortunate is the man who has made the Lord his trust, and did not turn to the haughty, nor to those who stray after falsehood.
6. You have done much, O You, Lord my God-Your wonders and thoughts are for us; none can compare to You; should I relate or speak of them, they are too numerous to recount!
7. You desired neither sacrifice nor meal-offering, but [obedient] ears You opened for me; You requested neither burnt-offering nor sin-offering.
8. Then I said, "Behold, I come with a Scroll of the Book written for me."1
9. I desire to fulfill Your will, my God; and Your Torah is in my innards.
10. I proclaimed [Your] righteousness in a vast congregation; behold I will not restrain my lips-O Lord, You know!
11. I did not conceal Your righteousness within my heart; I declared Your faithfulness and deliverance; I did not hide Your kindness and truth from the vast congregation.
12. May You, Lord, not withhold Your mercies from me; may Your kindness and truth constantly guard me.
13. For countless evils surround me; my sins have overtaken me and I cannot see; they outnumber the hairs of my head, and my heart has abandoned me.
14. May it please You, Lord, to save me; O Lord, hurry to my aid.
15. Let those who seek my life, to end it, be shamed and humiliated together; let those who desire my harm retreat and be disgraced.
16. Let those who say about me, "Aha! Aha!" be desolate, in return for their shaming [me].
17. Let all those who seek You exult and rejoice in You; let those who love Your deliverance always say, "Be exalted, O Lord!”
18. As for me, I am poor and needy; my Lord will think of me. You are my help and my rescuer; my God, do not delay!

Footnotes
1.

Upon recovery, David expresses thanks, not through sacrifices, by dedicating himself to Torah (Radak).

Chapter 41
This psalm teaches many good character traits, and inspires one to be thoughtful and conscientious in giving charity-knowing to whom to give first. Fortunate is he who is thoughtful of the sick one, providing him with his needs.
1. For the Conductor, a psalm by David.
2. Fortunate is he who is thoughtful of the poor, [for] the Lord will save him on the day of evil.
3. The Lord will guard him and keep him alive; he will be praised throughout the land; You will not deliver him to the desires of his enemies.
4. The Lord will support him on the bed of illness; You will turn him over in his bed all throughout his sickness.
5. I said, "Lord, be gracious to me! Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You!”
6. My foes say that evil [awaits] me: "When will he die, and his name perish?”
7. And if one comes to see [me], he speaks insincerely, for his heart gathers iniquity for himself, and when he goes out he speaks of it.
8. Together they whisper against me-all my enemies; against me they devise my harm, [saying]:
9. "Let his wickedness pour into him; now that he lies down, he shall rise no more.”
10. Even my ally in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has raised his heel over me.
11. But you, Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up, and I will repay them.
12. With this I shall know that You desire me, when my enemies will not shout gleefully over me.
13. And I, because of my integrity, You upheld me; You set me before You forever.
14. Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, to all eternity, Amen and Amen.

Chapter 42
This psalm awakens the hearts of the Children of Israel who do not feel the immense ruin, loss, and bad fortune in their being exiled from their Father's table. Were they wise, they would appreciate their past good fortune in coming thrice yearly, with joy and great awe, to behold God during the festivals, free of adversary and harm. May God place mercy before us from now to eternity, Amen Selah.
1. For the Conductor, a maskil1 by the sons of Korach.
2. As the deer cries longingly for brooks of water, so my soul cries longingly for You, O God!
3. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and behold the countenance of God?
4. My tears have been my bread day and night, when they say to me all day, "Where is your God?”
5. These do I recall, and pour out my soul from within me: how I traveled [to Jerusalem] in covered wagons; I would walk leisurely with them up to the House of God, amid the sound of rejoicing and thanksgiving, the celebrating multitude.
6. Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you wail within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him for the deliverances of His countenance.
7. My God! My soul is downcast upon me, because I remember You from the land of Jordan and Hermon's peaks, from Mount Mitzar.2
8. Deep calls to deep3 at the roar of Your channels; all Your breakers and waves have swept over me.
9. By day the Lord ordains His kindness, and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
10. I say to God, my rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why must I walk in gloom under the oppression of the enemy?”
11. Like a sword in my bones, my adversaries disgrace me, when they say to me all day, "Where is your God?”
12. Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you wail within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him; He is my deliverance, [the light of] my countenance, and my God.

Footnotes
1.

A psalm intended to enlighten and impart knowledge. (Metzudot)

2.

My heart aches when I remember the pilgrims from lands east of Jordan, and those from distant Hermon and Mitzar, who would travel to Jerusalem for the festivals (Radak)

3.

Before one misfortune has ended, another is already upon us; as if one calls the other to come (Metzudot).

Chapter 43
A significant prayer concerning the magnitude of the troubles we have suffered at the hands of the impious nations. May it be God's will to send Moshiach and Elijah the Prophet, who will lead us to the Holy Temple to offer sacrifices as in days of old.
1. Avenge me, O God, and champion my cause against an impious nation; rescue me from the man of deceit and iniquity.
2. For You are the God of my strength; why have You abandoned me? Why must I walk in gloom under the oppression of the enemy?
3. Send Your light and Your truth, they will guide me; they will bring me to Your holy mountain and to your sanctuaries.
4. Then I will come to the altar of God-to God, the joy of my delight-and praise You on the lyre, O God, my God.
5. Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you wail within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him; He is my deliverance, [the light of] my countenance, and my God.

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 106, 107 and 108.
Chapter 106
The psalmist continues the theme of the previous psalm, praising God for performing other miracles not mentioned previously, for "who can recount the mighty acts of God?" Were we to try, we could not mention them all!
1. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting.
2. Who can recount the mighty acts of the Lord, or proclaim all His praises?
3. Fortunate are those who preserve justice, who perform deeds of righteousness all the time.
4. Remember me, Lord, when You find favor with Your people; be mindful of me with Your deliverance;
5. to behold the prosperity of Your chosen, to rejoice in the joy of Your nation, to glory with Your inheritance.
6. We have sinned as did our fathers, we have acted perversely and wickedly.
7. Our fathers in Egypt did not contemplate Your wonders, they did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, at the Sea of Reeds.
8. Yet He delivered them for the sake of His Name, to make His strength known.
9. He roared at the Sea of Reeds and it dried up; He led them through the depths, as through a desert.
10. He saved them from the hand of the enemy, and redeemed them from the hand of the foe.
11. The waters engulfed their adversaries; not one of them remained.
12. Then they believed in His words, they sang His praise.
13. They quickly forgot His deeds, they did not wait for His counsel;
14. and they lusted a craving in the desert, they tested God in the wilderness.
15. And He gave them their request, but sent emaciation into their souls.
16. They angered Moses in the camp, and Aaron, the Lord's holy one.
17. The earth opened and swallowed Dathan, and engulfed the company of Abiram;
18. and a fire burned in their assembly, a flame set the wicked ablaze.
19. They made a calf in Horeb, and bowed down to a molten image.
20. They exchanged their Glory for the likeness of a grass-eating ox.
21. They forgot God, their savior, Who had performed great deeds in Egypt,
22. wonders in the land of Ham, awesome things at the Sea of Reeds.
23. He said that He would destroy them-had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying.
24. They despised the desirable land, they did not believe His word.
25. And they murmured in their tents, they did not heed the voice of the Lord.
26. So He raised His hand [in oath] against them, to cast them down in the wilderness,
27. to throw down their progeny among the nations, and to scatter them among the lands.
28. They joined themselves to [the idol] Baal Peor, and ate of the sacrifices to the dead;
29. they provoked Him with their doings, and a plague broke out in their midst.
30. Then Phineas arose and executed judgement, and the plague was stayed;
31. it was accounted for him as a righteous deed, through all generations, forever.
32. They angered Him at the waters of Merivah, and Moses suffered on their account;
33. for they defied His spirit, and He pronounced [an oath] with His lips.
34. They did not destroy the nations as the Lord had instructed them;
35. rather, they mingled with the nations and learned their deeds.
36. They worshipped their idols, and they became a snare for them.
37. They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons.
38. They spilled innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land became guilty with blood.
39. They were defiled by their deeds, and went astray by their actions.
40. And the Lord's wrath blazed against His people, and He abhorred His inheritance;
41. so He delivered them into the hands of nations, and their enemies ruled them.
42. Their enemies oppressed them, and they were subdued under their hand.
43. Many times did He save them, yet they were rebellious in their counsel and were impoverished by their sins.
44. But He saw their distress, when He heard their prayer;
45. and He remembered for them His covenant and He relented, in keeping with His abounding kindness,
46. and He caused them to be treated mercifully by all their captors.
47. Deliver us, Lord our God; gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise.
48. Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, forever and ever. And let all the people say, "Amen! Praise the Lord!"
Chapter 107
This psalm speaks of those who are saved from four specific perilous situations(imprisonment, sickness, desert travel, and sea travel) and must thank God, for their sins caused their troubles, and only by the kindness of God were they saved. It is therefore appropriate that they praise God and tell of their salvation to all.
1. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting.
2. So shall say those redeemed by the Lord, those whom He redeemed from the hand of the oppressor.
3. He gathered them from the lands-from east and from west, from north and from the sea.
4. They lost their way in the wilderness, in the wasteland; they found no inhabited city.
5. Both hungry and thirsty, their soul languished within them.
6. They cried out to the Lord in their distress; He delivered them from their afflictions.
7. He guided them in the right path to reach an inhabited city.
8. Let them give thanks to the Lord, and [proclaim] His wonders to the children of man,
9. for He has satiated a thirsting soul, and filled a hungry soul with goodness.
10. Those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, bound in misery and chains of iron,
11. for they defied the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High-
12. He humbled their heart through suffering; they stumbled and there was none to help.
13. They cried out to the Lord in their distress; He saved them from their afflictions.
14. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and sundered their bonds.
15. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His kindness, and [proclaim] His wonders to the children of man,
16. for He broke the brass gates and smashed the iron bars.
17. Foolish sinners are afflicted because of their sinful ways and their wrongdoings.
18. Their soul loathes all food, and they reach the gates of death.
19. They cried out to the Lord in their distress; He saved them from their afflictions.
20. He sent forth His command and healed them; He delivered them from their graves.
21. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His kindness, and [proclaim] His wonders to the children of man.
22. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and joyfully recount His deeds.
23. Those who go down to the sea in ships, who perform tasks in mighty waters;
24. they saw the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep.
25. He spoke and caused the stormy wind to rise, and it lifted up the waves.
26. They rise to the sky, plunge to the depths; their soul melts in distress.
27. They reel and stagger like a drunkard, all their skill is to no avail.
28. They cried out to the Lord in their distress, and He brought them out from their calamity.
29. He transformed the storm into stillness, and the waves were quieted.
30. They rejoiced when they were silenced, and He led them to their destination.
31. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His kindness, and [proclaim] His wonders to the children of man.
32. Let them exalt Him in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders.
33. He turns rivers into desert, springs of water into parched land,
34. a fruitful land into a salt-marsh, because of the wickedness of those who inhabit it.
35. He turns a desert into a lake, and parched land into springs of water.
36. He settles the hungry there, and they establish a city of habitation.
37. They sow fields and plant vineyards which yield fruit and wheat.
38. He blesses them and they multiply greatly, and He does not decrease their cattle.
39. [If they sin,] they are diminished and cast down through oppression, misery, and sorrow.
40. He pours contempt upon distinguished men, and causes them to stray in a pathless wilderness.
41. He raises the needy from distress, and makes their families [as numerous] as flocks.
42. The upright observe this and rejoice, and all the wicked close their mouth.
43. Let him who is wise bear these in mind, and then the benevolent acts of the Lord will be understood.
Chapter 108
1. A song, a psalm by David.
2. My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and chant praises even with my soul.
3. Awake, O lyre and harp; I shall awaken the dawn.
4. I will thank You among the nations, Lord; I will sing praises to You among the peoples.
5. Indeed, Your kindness reaches above the heavens; Your truth reaches to the skies.
6. Be exalted upon the heavens, O God, [show] Your glory upon all the earth.
7. That Your beloved ones may be delivered, help with Your right hand and answer me.
8. God spoke in His holiness that I would exult, I would divide portions [of the enemies' land], I would measure the Valley of Succot.
9. Mine is Gilead, mine is Manasseh, and Ephraim is the stronghold of my head, Judah is my prince.
10. Moab is my washbasin, I will cast my shoe upon Edom, I will shout over Philistia.
11. Who brings me to the fortified city? Who led me unto Edom?
12. Is it not God, Who has [until now] forsaken us, and did not go forth, O God, with our armies?
13. Give us help against the adversary; futile is the help of man.
14. Through God we will do valiantly, and He will trample our oppressors.

Tehilllim Ohel Yoseph Yitzchok, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society.
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Daily Quote
The Brit Milah (covenant of circumcision) impresses the quality of self-sacrifice in the Jew. Because he has already sacrificed a part of himself at a most early age, the Jew is prepared to give his very life to G-d.
  –Keli Yakar
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