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Daily Tehillim - Psalms

Chapters 120-134

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 120
This psalm rebukes slanderers, describing how the deadly effect of slander reaches even further than weapons.
1. A song of ascents. I have called out to the Lord in my distress, and He answered me.
2. O Lord, rescue my soul from the lips of falsehood, from a deceitful tongue.
3. What can He give you, and what [further restraint] can He add to you, O deceitful tongue?
4. [You resemble] the sharp arrows of a mighty one, and the coals of broom-wood.1
5. Woe unto me that I sojourned among Meshech, that I dwelt beside the tents of Kedar.
6. Too long has my soul dwelt among those who hate peace.
7. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.


Which remain hot on the inside while appearing cool to the touch (Rashi).

Chapter 121
This psalm alludes to the Lower Paradise, from which one ascends to the Higher Paradise. It also speaks of how God watches over us.

1. A song of ascents. I lift my eyes to the mountains-from where will my help come?
2. My help will come from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.
3. He will not let your foot falter; your guardian does not slumber.
4. Indeed, the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.
5. The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your protective shade at your right hand.
6. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7. The Lord will guard you from all evil; He will guard your soul.
8. The Lord will guard your going and your coming from now and for all time.

Chapter 122
The psalmist sings the praises of Jerusalem and tells of the miracles that happened there.
1. A song of ascents by David. I rejoiced when they said to me, "Let us go to the House of the Lord.”
2. Our feet were standing within your gates, O Jerusalem;
3. Jerusalem that is built like a city in which [all Israel] is united together.
4. For there the tribes went up, the tribes of God-as enjoined upon Israel-to offer praise to the Name of the Lord.
5. For there stood the seats of justice, the thrones of the house of David.
6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you have peace.
7. May there be peace within your walls, serenity within your mansions.
8. For the sake of my brethren and friends, I ask that there be peace within you.
9. For the sake of the House of the Lord our God, I seek your well-being.

Chapter 123
The psalmist laments the length of time we have already suffered in exile.
1. A song of ascents. To You have I lifted my eyes, You Who are enthroned in heaven.
2. Indeed, as the eyes of servants are turned to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so are our eyes turned to the Lord our God, until He will be gracious to us.
3. Be gracious to us, Lord, be gracious to us, for we have been surfeited with humiliation.
4. Our soul has been overfilled with the derision of the complacent, with the scorn of the arrogant.

Chapter 124
1. A song of ascents by David. Were it not for the Lord Who was with us-let Israel declare-
2. were it not for the Lord Who was with us when men rose up against us,
3. then they would have swallowed us alive in their burning rage against us.
4. Then the waters would have inundated us, the torrent would have swept over our soul;
5. then the raging waters would have surged over our soul.
6. Blessed is the Lord, Who did not permit us to be prey for their teeth.
7. Our soul is like a bird which has escaped from the fowler's snare; the snare broke and we escaped.
8. Our help is in the Name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Chapter 125
1. A song of ascents. Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion which never falters, but abides forever.
2. Mountains surround Jerusalem, and the Lord surrounds His people from this time and forever.
3. For the rod of wickedness will never come to rest upon the lot of the righteous; therefore the righteous need not stretch their hand to iniquity.
4. Be beneficent, O Lord, to the good and to those who are upright in their hearts.
5. But as for those that turn to their perverseness, may the Lord lead them with the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel.

Chapter 126
The psalmist speaks of the future, comparing our Divine service in exile to one who sows arid land, then cries and begs God to send rain upon it so that the seed not be wasted. When he merits to reap the crop, he offers thanks to God.
1. A song of ascents. When the Lord will return the exiles of Zion, we will have been like dreamers.
2. Then our mouth will be filled with laughter, and our tongue with songs of joy; then will they say among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for these.”
3. The Lord has done great things for us; we were joyful.
4. Lord, return our exiles as streams to arid soil.
5. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
6. He goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed; he will surely return with songs of joy, carrying his sheaves.

Chapter 127
King David instructs his generation, and especially his son Solomon, to be sure that all one's actions be for the sake of Heaven. He also criticizes those who toil day and night in pursuit of a livelihood.
1. A song of ascents for Solomon. If the Lord does not build a house, then its builders labor upon it in vain. If the Lord will not guard a city, the vigilance of its watchman is in vain.
2. It is in vain for you, you who rise early, who sit up late, and who eat the bread of tension, for in fact He gives His loved ones sleep.
3. Behold, the heritage of the Lord is children; the fruit of the womb is a reward.
4. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of youth.
5. Fortunate is the man who has his quiver full of them; they will not find themselves shamed when they speak with enemies in public places.

Chapter 128
This psalm extols one who enjoys the fruits of his own labor, avoiding theft and deception, even refusing gifts. It also describes behavior appropriate to the God-fearing.
1. A song of ascents. Fortunate is every man who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.
2. When you eat of the labor of your hands, you will be happy, and you will have goodness.
3. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in the inner chambers of your house; your children will be like olive saplings around your table.
4. Behold, so will be blessed the man who fears the Lord.
5. May the Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the goodness of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6. And may you see children [born] to your children; peace upon Israel.

Chapter 129
The psalmist laments the troubles of Israel.
1. A song of ascents. Much have they persecuted me from my youth on. Let Israel declare it now-
2. "Much have they persecuted me from my youth on, [but] they have not prevailed against me.”
3. The plowmen plowed upon my back; they wished to make their furrow long.
4. But the Lord is just; He cut the cords of the lawless.
5. They will be humiliated and will be turned back, all the haters of Zion.
6. They will be as grass upon the rooftops that withers before one plucks it,
7. wherewith the reaper has never filled his hand, nor the sheaf-binder his arm;
8. and of which the passers-by never have said: "The blessing of the Lord be upon you; we bless you in the name of the Lord."

Chapter 130
The psalmist prays for an end to this long exile.
1. A song of ascents. Out of the depths I call to You, O Lord.
2. My Lord, hearken to my voice; let Your ears be attentive to the sound of my pleas.
3. God, if You were to preserve iniquities, my Lord, who could survive?
4. But forgiveness is with You, that You may be held in awe.
5. I hope in the Lord; my soul hopes, and I long for His word.
6. My soul yearns for the Lord more than those awaiting the morning wait for the morning.
7. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is kindness; with Him there is abounding deliverance.
8. And He will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

Chapter 131
In this prayer, David declares that never in the course of his life was he haughty, nor did he pursue greatness or worldly pleasures.
1. A song of ascents, by David. O Lord, my heart was not proud, nor were my eyes haughty; I did not seek matters that were too great and too wondrous for me.
2. Surely I put my soul at peace and soothed it like a weaned child with his mother; my soul was like a weaned child.
3. Let Israel hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.

Chapter 132
David composed this psalm while he and the elders of Israel wore sackcloth, in mourning over the plague that had descended upon the land, and their being distant from the Holy Temple. David therefore offers intense prayers, entreating God to remember the hardship and sacrifice he endured for the sake of the Temple.
1. A song of ascents. O Lord, remember unto David all his suffering,
2. how he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the Mighty Power of Jacob:
3. "I will not enter into the tent of my house; I will not go up into the bed that is spread for me;
4. I will not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eyelids;
5. until I will have found a place for the Lord, a resting place for the Mighty Power of Jacob.”
6. Lo, we heard of it in Ephrath; we found it in the field of the forest.
7. We will come to His resting places; we will prostrate ourselves at His footstool.
8. Ascend, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the Ark of Your might.
9. May Your priests clothe themselves in righteousness, and may Your pious ones sing joyous songs.
10. For the sake of David Your servant, turn not away the face of Your anointed.
11. For the Lord has sworn to David a truth from which He will never retreat: "From the fruit of your womb will I set for you upon the throne.
12. If your sons will keep My covenant and this testimony of mine which I will teach them, then their sons, too, will sit on the throne for you until the end of time.
13. For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.
14. This is My resting place to the end of time. Here will I dwell, for I have desired it.
15. I will abundantly bless her sustenance; I will satisfy her needy with bread.
16. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her pious ones will sing joyous songs.
17. There I will cause David's power to flourish; there I have prepared a lamp for My anointed.
18. His enemies will I clothe with shame, but upon him, his crown will blossom."

Chapter 133
1. A song of ascents, by David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together.
2. Like the precious oil [placed] upon the head, flowing [in abundance] down the beard, the beard of Aaron which rests upon his garments.
3. Like the dew of Hermon which comes down upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord has commanded blessing, life unto eternity.

Chapter 134
The psalmist exhorts the scholarly and pious to rise from their beds at night, and go to the House of God.
1. A song of ascents. Behold: Bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who stand in the House of the Lord in the nights.
2. Lift up your hands in holiness and bless the Lord.
3. May the Lord, Who makes heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.

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 79, 80 and 81.
Chapter 79
In this psalm, Asaph thanks God for sparing the people and directing His wrath upon the wood and stones (of the Temple). Still he cries bitterly, mourning the immense destruction: The place where the High Priest alone was allowed to enter-and only on Yom Kippur-is now so desolate that foxes stroll through it!
1. A psalm by Asaph. O God, nations have entered Your inheritance, they defiled Your Holy Sanctuary; they turned Jerusalem into heaps of rubble.
2. They have rendered the corpses of Your servants as food for the birds of heaven, the flesh of Your pious ones for the beasts of the earth.
3. They spilled their blood like water around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury [them].
4. We became the object of disgrace to our neighbors, ridicule and scorn to those around us.
5. Until when, O Lord! Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire?
6. Pour Your wrath upon the nations that do not know You, upon the kingdoms that do not call Your Name,
7. for they devoured Jacob and desolated His abode.
8. Do not recall our former sins; let Your mercies come swiftly towards us, for we have fallen very low.
9. Help us, God of our deliverance, for the sake of the glory of Your Name; save us and pardon our sins for the sake of Your Name.
10. Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Let there be known among the nations, before our eyes, the retribution of the spilled blood of Your servants.
11. Let the groan of the prisoner come before You; liberate those condemned to death, as befits the greatness of Your strength.
12. Repay our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom, for the disgrace with which they reviled You, O Lord.
13. And we, Your people, the flock of Your pasture, will thank You forever; for all generations we will recount Your praise.

Chapter 80
An awe-inspiring prayer imploring God to draw near to us as in days of old.
1. For the Conductor, on the shoshanim, 1 a testimony by Asaph, a psalm.
2. Listen, O Shepherd of Israel, Who leads Joseph like sheep. Appear, You Who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
3. Arouse Your might before Ephraim, Benjamin and Menashe, for it is upon You to save us.
4. Return us, O God; cause Your countenance to shine, that we may be saved.
5. O Lord, God of Hosts, until when will You fume at the prayer of Your people?
6. You fed them bread of tears, and gave them tears to drink in great measure.
7. You have made us an object of strife to our neighbors; our enemies mock to themselves.
8. Return us, O God of Hosts; cause Your countenance to shine, that we may be saved.
9. You brought a vine out of Egypt; You drove out nations and planted it.
10. You cleared space before it; it took root and filled the land.
11. Mountains were covered by its shade, and its branches became mighty cedars.
12. It sent forth its branches till the sea, and its tender shoots to the river.
13. Why did You breach its fences, so that every passerby plucked its fruit?
14. The boars of the forest ravage it, and the creepers of the field feed upon it.
15. O God of Hosts, please return! Look down from heaven and see, and be mindful of this vine,
16. and of the foundation which Your right hand has planted, and the son whom You strengthened for Yourself.
17. It is burned by fire, cut down; they perish at the rebuke of Your Presence.
18. Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You strengthened for Yourself.
19. Then we will not withdraw from You; revive us, and we will proclaim Your Name.
20. O Lord, God of Hosts, return us; cause Your countenance to shine that we may be saved.


A musical instrument shaped like a shoshana, a rose (Metzudot).

Chapter 81
This psalm was chanted in the Holy Temple on Rosh Hashanah, a day on which many miracles were wrought for Israel.
1. For the Conductor, upon the gittit,1 by Asaph.
2. Sing joyously to God, our strength; sound the shofar to the God of Jacob.
3. Raise your voice in song, sound the drum, the pleasant harp, and the lyre.
4. Blow the shofar on the New Month, on the designated day of our Holy Day;
5. for it is a decree for Israel, a ruling of the God of Jacob.
6. He ordained it as a precept for Joseph when he went forth over the land of Egypt; I heard a language which I did not know.
7. I have taken his shoulder from the burden; his hands were removed from the pot.2
8. In distress you called and I delivered you; [you called] in secret, and I answered you with thunderous wonders; I tested you at the waters of Merivah, Selah.
9. Hear, My people, and I will admonish you; Israel, if you would only listen to Me!
10. You shall have no alien god within you, nor shall you bow down to a foreign deity.
11. I am the Lord your God who brought you up from the land of Egypt; open wide your mouth, [state all your desires,] and I shall grant them.
12. But My people did not heed My voice; Israel did not want [to listen to] Me.
13. So I sent them away for the willfulness of their heart, for following their [evil] design.
14. If only My people would listen to Me, if Israel would only walk in My ways,
15. then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their oppressors.
16. Those who hate the Lord would shrivel before Him, and the time [of their retribution] shall be forever.
17. I would feed him [Israel] with the finest of wheat, and sate you with honey from the rock.


A musical instrument crafted in Gath (Metzudot).


The cooking vessels used to prepare food for their captors (Rashi)

Tehilllim Ohel Yoseph Yitzchok, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society.
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Daily Quote
G-d's words to Adam, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9) is G-d's call to every man, every moment of time. Where are you in the world? -- G-d calls -- What have you accomplished? You have been allotted a certain number of days, hours, and minutes in which to fulfill your mission in life. You have lived so many years and so many days, hours and minutes. Where are you? What have you achieved?
  –Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
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