Daily Tehillim - Psalms

Chapters 90-96

Classes on Tehillim - Psalms
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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 90
David found this prayer in its present form-receiving a tradition attributing it to Moses (The Midrash attributes the next eleven Psalms to Moses (Rashi)) and incorporated it into the Tehillim. It speaks of the brevity of human life, and inspires man to repent and avoid pride in this world.
1. A prayer by Moses, the man of God. My Lord, You have been a shelter for us in every generation.
2. Before the mountains came into being, before You created the earth and the world-for ever and ever You are Almighty God.
3. You diminish man until he is crushed, and You say, "Return, you children of man.”
4. Indeed, a thousand years are in Your eyes like yesterday that has passed, like a watch of the night.
5. The stream of their life is as but a slumber; in the morning they are like grass that sprouts anew.
6. In the morning it thrives and sprouts anew; in the evening it withers and dries.
7. For we are consumed by Your anger, and destroyed by Your wrath.
8. You have set our wrongdoings before You, our hidden sins before the light of Your countenance.
9. For all our days have vanished in Your wrath; we cause our years to pass like a fleeting sound.
10. The days of our lives number seventy years, and if in great vigor, eighty years; most of them are but travail and futility, passing quickly and flying away.
11. Who can know the intensity of Your anger? Your wrath is commensurate with one's fear of You.
12. Teach us, then, to reckon our days, that we may acquire a wise heart.
13. Relent, O Lord; how long [will Your anger last]? Have compassion upon Your servants.
14. Satiate us in the morning with Your kindness, then we shall sing and rejoice throughout our days.
15. Give us joy corresponding to the days You afflicted us, the years we have seen adversity.
16. Let Your work be revealed to Your servants, and Your splendor be upon their children.
17. May the pleasantness of the Lord our God be upon us; establish for us the work of our hands; establish the work of our hands.

Chapter 91
This psalm inspires the hearts of the people to seek shelter under the wings of the Divine Presence. It also speaks of the four seasons of the year, and their respective ministering powers, instructing those who safeguard their souls to avoid them.
1. You who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Omnipotent:
2. I say of the Lord who is my refuge and my stronghold, my God in whom I trust,
3. that He will save you from the ensnaring trap, from the destructive pestilence.
4. He will cover you with His pinions and you will find refuge under His wings; His truth is a shield and an armor.
5. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day;
6. the pestilence that prowls in the darkness, nor the destruction that ravages at noon.
7. A thousand may fall at your [left] side, and ten thousand at your right, but it shall not reach you.
8. You need only look with your eyes, and you will see the retribution of the wicked.
9. Because you [have said,] "The Lord is my shelter," and you have made the Most High your haven,
10. no evil will befall you, no plague will come near your tent.
11. For He will instruct His angels in your behalf, to guard you in all your ways.
12. They will carry you in their hands, lest you injure your foot upon a rock.
13. You will tread upon the lion and the viper; you will trample upon the young lion and the serpent.
14. Because he desires Me, I will deliver him; I will fortify him, for he knows My Name.
15. When he calls on Me, I will answer him; I am with him in distress. I will deliver him and honor him.
16. I will satiate him with long life, and show him My deliverance.

Chapter 92
Sung every Shabbat by the Levites in the Holy Temple, this psalm speaks of the World to Come, and comforts the hearts of those crushed by suffering.
1. A psalm, a song for the Shabbat day.
2. It is good to praise the Lord, and to sing to Your Name, O Most High;
3. to proclaim Your kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness in the nights,
4. with a ten-stringed instrument and lyre, to the melody of a harp.
5. For You, Lord, have gladdened me with Your deeds; I sing for joy at the works of Your hand.
6. How great are Your works, O Lord; how very profound Your thoughts!
7. A brutish man cannot know, a fool cannot comprehend this:
8. When the wicked thrive like grass, and all evildoers flourish-it is in order that they may be destroyed forever.
9. But You, Lord, are exalted forever.
10. Indeed, Your enemies, O Lord, indeed Your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered.
11. But You have increased my might like that of a wild ox; I am anointed with fresh oil.
12. My eyes have seen [the downfall of] my watchful enemies; my ears have heard [the doom of] the wicked who rise against me.
13. The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, grow tall like a cedar in Lebanon.
14. Planted in the House of the Lord, they shall blossom in the courtyards of our God.
15. They shall be fruitful even in old age; they shall be full of sap and freshness-
16. to declare that the Lord is just; He is my Strength, and there is no injustice in Him.

Chapter 93
This psalm speaks of the Messianic era, when God will don grandeur-allowing no room for man to boast before Him as did Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, and Sennacherib.
1. The Lord is King; He has garbed Himself with grandeur; the Lord has robed Himself, He has girded Himself with strength; He has also established the world firmly that it shall not falter.
2. Your throne stands firm from of old; You have existed forever.
3. The rivers have raised, O Lord, the rivers have raised their voice; the rivers raise their raging waves.
4. More than the sound of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, is the Lord mighty on High.
5. Your testimonies are most trustworthy; Your House will be resplendent in holiness, O Lord, forever.

Chapter 94
An awe-inspiring and wondrous prayer with which every individual can pray for the redemption. It is also an important moral teaching.
1. The Lord is a God of retribution; O God of retribution, reveal Yourself!
2. Judge of the earth, arise; render to the arrogant their recompense.
3. How long shall the wicked, O Lord, how long shall the wicked exult?
4. They continuously speak insolently; all the evildoers act arrogantly.
5. They crush Your people, O Lord, and oppress Your heritage.
6. They kill the widow and the stranger, and murder the orphans.
7. And they say, "The Lord does not see, the God of Jacob does not perceive.”
8. Understand, you senseless among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?
9. Shall He who implants the ear not hear? Shall He who forms the eye not see?
10. Shall He who chastises nations not punish? Shall He who imparts knowledge to man [not know]?
11. The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are naught.
12. Fortunate is the man whom You chastise, O Lord, and instruct him in Your Torah,
13. bestowing upon him tranquillity in times of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked.
14. For the Lord will not abandon His people, nor forsake His heritage.
15. For judgment shall again be consonant with justice, and all the upright in heart will pursue it.
16. Who would rise up for me against the wicked ones; who would stand up for me against the evildoers?
17. Had the Lord not been a help to me, my soul would have soon dwelt in the silence [of the grave].
18. When I thought that my foot was slipping, Your kindness, O Lord, supported me.
19. When my [worrisome] thoughts multiply within me, Your consolation delights my soul.
20. Can one in the seat of evil, one who makes iniquity into law, consort with You?
21. They band together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood.
22. The Lord has been my stronghold; my God, the strength of my refuge.
23. He will turn their violence against them and destroy them through their own wickedness; the Lord, our God, will destroy them.

Chapter 95
This psalm speaks of the future, when man will say to his fellow, "Come, let us sing and offer praise to God for the miracles He has performed for us!"
1. Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us raise our voices in jubilation to the Rock of our deliverance.
2. Let us approach Him with thanksgiving; let us raise our voices to Him in song.
3. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King over all supernal beings;
4. in His hands are the depths of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are His.
5. Indeed, the sea is His, for He made it; His hands formed the dry land.
6. Come, let us prostrate ourselves and bow down; let us bend the knee before the Lord, our Maker.
7. For He is our God, and we are the people that He tends, the flock under His [guiding] hand-even this very day, if you would but hearken to His voice!
8. Do not harden your heart as at Merivah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9. where your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they had seen My deeds.
10. For forty years I quarreled with that generation; and I said, "They are a people of erring hearts, they do not know My ways.”
11. So I vowed in My anger that they would not enter My resting place.

Chapter 96
The time will yet come when man will say to his fellow: "Come, let us sing to God!"
1. Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2. Sing to the Lord, bless His Name; proclaim His deliverance from day to day.
3. Recount His glory among the nations, His wonders among all the peoples.
4. For the Lord is great and highly praised; He is awesome above all gods.
5. For all the gods of the nations are naught, but the Lord made the heavens.
6. Majesty and splendor are before Him, might and beauty in His Sanctuary.
7. Render to the Lord, O families of nations, render to the Lord honor and might.
8. Render to the Lord honor due to His Name; bring an offering and come to His courtyards.
9. Bow down to the Lord in resplendent holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth.
10. Proclaim among the nations, "The Lord reigns"; indeed, the world is firmly established that it shall not falter; He will judge the peoples with righteousness.
11. The heavens will rejoice, the earth will exult; the sea and its fullness will roar.
12. The fields and everything therein will jubilate; then all the trees of the forest will sing.
13. Before the Lord [they shall rejoice], for He has come, for He has come to judge the earth; He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with His truth.

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 55, 56 and 57.
Chapter 55
David composed this psalm upon escaping from Jerusalem in the face of the slanderers, Doeg and Achitofel, who had declared him deserving of death. David had considered Achitofel a friend and accorded him the utmost honor, but Achitofel betrayed him and breached their covenant. David curses all his enemies, so that all generations should "know, and sin no more."
1. For the Conductor, with instrumental music, a maskil by David.
2. Listen to my prayer, O God, do not hide from my pleas.
3. Pay heed to me and answer me, as I lament in my distress and moan -
4. because of the shout of the enemy and the oppression of the wicked; for they accuse me of evil and hate me passionately.
5. My heart shudders within me, and the terrors of death have descended upon me.
6. Fear and trembling penetrate me, and I am enveloped with horror.
7. And I said, "If only I had wings like the dove! I would fly off and find rest.
8. Behold, I would wander afar, and lodge in the wilderness forever.
9. I would hurry to find shelter for myself from the stormy wind, from the tempest.”
10. Consume, O Lord, confuse their tongue; for I have seen violence and strife in the city.1
11. Day and night they encircle her upon her walls, and iniquity and vice are in her midst.
12. Treachery is within her; fraud and deceit never depart from her square.
13. For it is not the enemy who taunts me-that I could bear; nor my foe who raises himself against me, that I could hide from him.
14. But it is you, a man of my equal, my guide and my intimate.
15. Together we took sweet counsel; we walked with the throng to the house of God.
16. May He incite death upon them, let them descend to the pit alive; for there is evil in their dwelling, within them.
17. As for me, I call to God, and the Lord will save me.
18. Evening, morning and noon, I lament and moan-and He hears my voice.
19. He redeemed my soul in peace from battles against me, because of the many who were with me.
20. May God-He who is enthroned from the days of old, Selah-hear and humble those in whom there is no change, and who do not fear God.
21. He extended his hands against his allies, he profaned his covenant.
22. Smoother than butter are the words of his mouth, but war is in his heart; his words are softer than oil, yet they are curses.
23. Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous man falter.
24. And You, O God, will bring them down to the nethermost pit; bloodthirsty and treacherous men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You.



Chapter 56
David composed this psalm while in mortal danger at the palace of Achish, brother of Goliath. In his distress David accepts vows upon himself.
1. For the Conductor, of the mute dove1 far away. By David, a michtam, 2 when the Philistines seized him in Gath.
2. Favor me, O God, for man longs to swallow me; the warrior oppresses me every day.
3. My watchful enemies long to swallow me every day, for many battle me, O Most High!
4. On the day I am afraid, I trust in You.
5. [I trust] in God and praise His word; in God I trust, I do not fear-what can [man of] flesh do to me?
6. Every day they make my words sorrowful; all their thoughts about me are for evil.
7. They gather and hide, they watch my steps, when they hope [to capture] my soul.
8. Should escape be theirs in reward for their iniquity? Cast down the nations in anger, O God!
9. You have counted my wanderings; place my tears in Your flask-are they not in Your record?
10. When my enemies will retreat on the day I cry out, with this I will know that God is with me.
11. When God deals strictly, I praise His word; when the Lord deals mercifully, I praise His word.
12. In God I trust, I do not fear-what can man do to me?
13. My vows to You are upon me, O God; I will repay with thanksgiving offerings to You.
14. For You saved my soul from death-even my feet from stumbling-to walk before God in the light of life.


David having fled from Jerusalem, is silenced by fear (Rashi/Metzudot).


A psalm that was especially precious to David

Chapter 57
David composed this psalm while hiding from Saul in a cave, facing grave danger. Like Jacob did when confronted with Esau, David prayed that he neither be killed nor be forced to kill. In the merit of his trust in God, God wrought wonders to save him.
1. For the Conductor, a plea to be spared destruction. By David, a michtam, when he fled from Saul in the cave.
2. Favor me, O God, favor me, for in You my soul took refuge, and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until the disaster passes.
3. I will call to God the Most High; to the Almighty Who fulfills [His promise] to me.
4. He will send from heaven, and save me from the humiliation of those who long to swallow me, Selah; God will send forth His kindness and truth.
5. My soul is in the midst of lions, I lie among fiery men; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongue a sharp sword.
6. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be upon all the earth.
7. They laid a trap for my steps, they bent down my soul; they dug a pit before me, [but] they themselves fell into it, Selah.
8. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and chant praise.
9. Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I shall awaken the dawn.
10. I will thank You among the nations, my Lord; I will praise You among the peoples.
11. For Your kindness reaches till the heavens, Your truth till the skies.
12. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be over all the earth.

Tehilllim Ohel Yoseph Yitzchok, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society.
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Daily Quote
The Baal Shem Tov was very fond of light, and said, "Or (light) is the numerical equivalent of raz ('secret'). Whoever knows the 'secret' in every thing can bring illumination."
  –Hayom Yom, Elul 6
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