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Daily Tehillim - Psalms

Chapters 55-59

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 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.

Chapter 58
David expresses the anguish caused him by Avner and his other enemies, who justified Saul's pursuit of him.
1. For the Conductor, a plea to be spared destruction; by David, a michtam.
2. Is it true that you are mute [instead of] speaking justice? [Instead of] judging men with fairness?
3. Even with your heart you wreak injustice upon the land; you justify the violence of your hands.
4. The wicked are estranged from the womb; from birth do the speakers of falsehood stray.
5. Their venom is like the venom of a snake; like the deaf viper that closes its ear
6. so as not to hear the voice of charmers, [even] the most skillful caster of spells.
7. O God, smash their teeth in their mouth; shatter the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.
8. Let them melt like water and disappear; when He aims His arrows, may they crumble.
9. Like the snail that melts as it goes along, like the stillbirth of a woman-they never see the sun.
10. Before your tender shoots know [to become] hardened thorns, He will blast them away, as one [uprooting] with vigor and wrath.
11. The righteous one will rejoice when he sees revenge; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.
12. And man will say, "There is indeed reward for the righteous; indeed there is a God Who judges in the land."

Chapter 59
This psalm speaks of the great miracle David experienced when he eluded danger by escaping through a window, unnoticed by the guards at the door. The prayers, supplications, and entreaties he offered then are recorded here.
1. For the Conductor, a plea to be spared destruction, By David, a michtam, when Saul dispatched [men], and they guarded the house in order to kill him.
2. Rescue me from my enemies, my God; raise me above those who rise against me.
3. Rescue me from evildoers, save me from men of bloodshed.
4. For behold they lie in ambush for my soul, mighty ones gather against me-not because of my sin nor my transgression, O Lord.
5. Without iniquity [on my part,] they run and prepare-awaken towards me and see!
6. And You, Lord, God of Hosts, God of Israel, wake up to remember all the nations; do not grant favor to any of the iniquitous traitors, Selah.
7. They return toward evening, they howl like the dog and circle the city.
8. Behold, they spew with their mouths, swords are in their lips, for [they say], "Who hears?”
9. But You, Lord, You laugh at them; You mock all nations.
10. [Because of] his might, I wait for You, for God is my stronghold.
11. The God of my kindness will anticipate my [need]; God will show me [the downfall] of my watchful foes.
12. Do not kill them, lest my nation forget; drive them about with Your might and impoverish them, O our Shield, my Master,
13. [for] the sin of their mouth, the word of their lips; let them be trapped by their arrogance. At the sight of their accursed state and deterioration, [people] will recount.
14. Consume them in wrath, consume them and they will be no more; and they will know that God rules in Jacob, to the ends of the earth, Selah.
15. And they will return toward evening, they will howl like the dog and circle the city.
16. They will wander about to eat; when they will not be sated they will groan.
17. As for me, I shall sing of Your might, and sing joyously of Your kindness toward morning, for You have been a stronghold to me, a refuge on the day of my distress.
18. [You are] my strength, to You I will sing, for God is my stronghold, the God of my kindness.

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 28, 29 and 30.
Chapter 28
A prayer for every individual, entreating God to assist him in walking the good path, to prevent him from walking with the wicked doers of evil, and that He repay the wicked for their wickedness and the righteous for their righteousness.
1. By David. I call to You, O Lord; my Strength, do not be deaf to me; for should You be silent to me, I will be like those who descend to the pit.
2. Hear the sound of my pleas when I cry out to You, when I raise my hands toward Your holy Sanctuary.
3. Do not draw me along with the wicked, with evildoers who speak of peace with their companions, though evil is in their heart.
4. Give them according to their deeds, and the evil of their endeavors; give them according to their handiwork, render to them their just desserts.
5. For they pay no heed to the acts of the Lord, nor to the work of His hands; may He destroy them and not rebuild them.
6. Blessed is the Lord, for He has heard the voice of my pleas.
7. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusted and I was helped; my heart exulted, and with my song I praised Him.
8. The Lord is a strength to them; He is a stronghold of deliverance to His anointed.
9. Grant salvation to Your people and bless Your heritage; tend them and exalt them forever.

Chapter 29
The Name of God appears eighteen times in this psalm, corresponding to which our Sages established eighteen blessings-the Amidah. The entire psalm can be interpreted as referring to the giving of the Torah and the ingathering of the exiles.
1. A psalm by David. Render to the Lord, children of the mighty, render to the Lord honor and strength.
2. Render to the Lord the honor due to His Name; bow down to the Lord in resplendent holiness.
3. The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over mighty waters.
4. The voice of the Lord resounds with might; the voice of the Lord resounds with majesty.
5. The voice of the Lord breaks cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
6. He makes them leap like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7. The voice of the Lord strikes flames of fire.
8. The voice of the Lord makes the desert tremble; the Lord causes the desert of Kadesh to tremble.
9. The voice of the Lord causes the does to calve, and strips the forests bare; and in His Sanctuary all proclaim His glory.
10. The Lord sat [as King] at the Flood; the Lord will sit as King forever.
11. The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.

Chapter 30
This psalm teaches one not to be distressed if God visits suffering upon him in this world, for only through suffering can one enter the World to Come. Even one of great spiritual stature should realize that his stability is not guaranteed, but that all is in the hands of God.
1. A psalm, a song of dedication of the House, by David.
2. I exalt You, Lord, for You have uplifted me, and did not allow my enemies to rejoice over me.
3. Lord, my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.
4. Lord, You have brought up my soul from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not descend to the pit.
5. Sing to the Lord, you His pious ones, and praise His holy Name.
6. For His wrath endures but for a moment, when He is conciliated there is [long] life; when one retires at night weeping, joy will come in the morning.
7. In my security I thought, "I shall never falter.”
8. Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; when You concealed Your countenance I was alarmed.
9. I called to You, O Lord, and I made supplication to my Lord:
10. What profit is there in my death, in my going down to the grave? Can dust praise You? Can it proclaim Your truth
11. Lord, hear and be gracious to me; Lord, be a help to me.
12. You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have undone my sackcloth and girded me with joy.
13. Therefore my soul shall sing to You, and not be silent; Lord my God, I will praise You forever.

Tehilllim Ohel Yoseph Yitzchok, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society.
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Daily Quote
"See, I give you today a blessing and a curse" (Deuteronomy 11:26). Moses is giving the Children of Israel the power of sight: to perceive that the true nature of evil is nothing more than a transmutation and distortion of the Divine good. When evil is thus seen, it can be transformed into the good that it essentially is.
  –The Lubavitcher Rebbe
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