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Studying Tehillim

Understanding the Text of the Psalms

Tehillim, the Book of Psalms authored by King David, is recited regularly by Jews throughout the ages. Learn the rich meaning of the verses we recite in praise and prayer.

Studying Tehillim: Chapter 27, Part 1
King David's Fortifying Faith
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 27, Part 2
King David’s Single Request
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 27, Part 3
King David's Pounding Heart
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 27, Part 4
King David's Audacity of Hope
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 112, Part 1
Understanding the Text of the Psalms
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 112, Part 2
Understanding the Text of the Psalms
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 113, Part 1
Understanding the Text of the Psalms
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 113, Part 2
Understanding the Text of the Psalms
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 113, Part 3
Understanding the Text of the Psalms
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 116, Part 2
Deliverance, Death and Deceit
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 117
The Day Anti-Semitism Will End. Forever!
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 118, Part 2
A Defiant Call from the Depths
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 118, Part 4
When Surrounded with Challenges
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 118, Part 5
The Sounds of the Future
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 118, Part 6
The Secret to Unlocking Heaven’s Doors
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 118, Part 7
The Stone that Everyone Scorned
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 118, Part 8
The Secret to Unlocking Heaven’s Doors
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 24, Part 1
Whose Watery World Is It?
This rich chapter of Psalms is also recited at the conclusion of the evening prayers on the High Holidays following the Amidah. Discover its profound meaning and significance.
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 24, Part 2
Who Will Ascend?
This rich chapter of Psalms is also recited at the conclusion of the evening prayers on the High Holidays following the Amidah. Discover its profound meaning and significance.
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 24, Part 3
Opening Majestic Gateways
The Secret Matrix of Psalm 119
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (overview)
This chapter consists of 22 stanzas—corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet. Each stanza is comprised of eight verses, all beginning with same letter, hence it’s known as the psalm of eight-faces. This introductory class provides an overview highlighting the inner character of chapter 119. We examine the key words repeatedly employed throughout this psalm, and the profound meaning embedded in the patter of eight.
The Virtue of Simple Sincerity
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Aleph, part 1)
In this class we learn in-depth psalm 119, covering the first four verses that begin with the letter aleph.
Yearning for Communion
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Aleph, part 2)
The Thirst for Understanding Torah
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Beit, part 1)
Torah: To Appreciate and Rejoice!
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Beit, part 2)
Show Me Your Wonders
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Gimmel, part 1)
The Royal Stranger Amongst Us
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Gimmel, part 2)
Transcending Opposition the Royal Way
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Gimmel, part 3)
Rising from the Dust...
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Daled, part 1)
Pathways to Spiritual Fulfillment
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Daled, part 2)
Footsteps of Devotion
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Hei, part 1)
Soulful Emotional Health
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Hei, part 2)
Realization of Royalty
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Vav, part 1)
The first three verses beginning with the Hebrew letter Vav encapsulate King David’s heartfelt plea that through he and his progeny be fulfilled prophetically foretold glory. Echoing these sentiments each of us can yearn to take our rightful place in the sweep of history, linking our own seed to the ancient ancestors of Am Yisrael. We pray for the ability to respond to our detractors with nothing but truth of Hashem's Torah.
Safeguarding Eternity in Confidence and Comfort
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Vav, part 2)
Because promises are always and forever, eternity must be defined. King David makes the case for spaciously speaking and luxuriously living that has nothing to do with unnecessary extravagance, but rather about fulfilling life's purpose with a profound sense of clarity, confidence and comfort.
Promising Promulgation
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Vav, part 3)
Because promises are for always and forever, eternity must be defined. King David makes the case for spaciously speaking and luxuriously living, which has nothing to do with unnecessary extravagance, but rather about fulfilling life's purpose with a profound sense of clarity, confidence, and comfort.
Cherishing Serenity’s Seven
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Zayin, part 1)
The first verse corresponding to the letter Zayin in Psalm 119 recalls prophetic promises. Surrounded by enemies, the embattled progenitor of Jewish royalty finds comfort in the Torah. Widespread and withering condemnation fazes him not, as he tenaciously clings to our eternal source of life and inspiration.
King David’s Songful Study Solace
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Zayin, part 2)
Time and again overwhelmed with inner strife, intense opposition, and even exilic displacement, the Sweet Singer of Israel succeeded in maintaining joyful equilibrium through songful Torah study that sounded like music to his ears. This careful composition of commentary provides the listener with a medley of motivational and inspirational ideas.
The Royal Musical Miscalculation
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Zayin, part 3)
With his royal heart overflowing with feelings of love and appreciation for G-d and the profundity of His Torah, King David poetically employed songful terminology in evaluating its sacred teachings. This multilayered presentation is based on Chassidic teachings that illuminates a subject which mystified scholars for generations!
The Secret Synergy for Survival and Success
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Zayin, part 4)
In these deceptively simple verses, the ‘Sweet Singer of Israel’ shares his secret recipe of spiritual mindfulness, rock-solid faith, love and loyalty that carried him through the darkest hours—ultimately propelling him to the crowning success of creating a lasting legacy of Jewish Royalty until the end of time!
A Cry from the Depths!
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 130 (Shir Hamaalot Mimaamakim)
This class studies the popular psalm 130 of Shir L’Maalot Mimaamakim. The opening verses reveal powerful messages about prayers emanating from the depths of despair. The Psalmist raises our spirits with optimistic hope—showing us how to rise from sorrow on the wings of heartfelt supplication. On a more profound level, it addresses our deepest rhythms of organic spirituality, setting our inner child free in faith, feeling and sincerity. This all becomes most meaningful and relevant during the Days of Awe initiating the New Year.
Full Presidential Pardon
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 130, Part 2 (Shir Hamaalot Mimaamakim)
Psalm 130 dramatically opens with powerful messages about prayers emanating from the depths. This class begins with further analysis of its euphemistic meaning. This segues into a plea: may our sins not be preserved, and may we receive pardon from Almighty G-d alone. A wide range of both exoteric and esoteric teachings are interwoven providing profound understanding of this timeless prayerful poetry. We conclude with special emphasis on why it's recited annually during the Days of Awe from Rosh Hashanah continuing through till climaxing on Yom Kippur.
The Audacity of Jewish Hope
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 130, Part 3 (Shir Hamaalot Mimaamakim)
In this final offering we focus on the uniquely Jewish trait of placing our hope in Hashem, and being faithfully confident in His deliverance. Our trust and continuous yearning for G-d has sustained our people for nearly two millennia of the disappointing darkness of Galut. The Royal Psalmist declares that he never loses hope, and is in a constant state of anticipation for the dawn of redemption and a new world order of true peace. Soothing our deepest fears, King David prophetically assures us that after our long suffering Exile, G-d will not judge us harshly to the rigid letter of the law, for He is the ultimate Dispenser of Mercy and yearns to redeem His children.
Awe-Psalm Preamble, Breathtaking Overview!
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 47, Part 1
The propitious Psalm 47 is traditionally recited seven times prior to the Shofar blowing. Discover its deep and rather unusual history that may most naturally encourage sinners to remain optimistic of spiritual rehabilitation. See how its very structure comprises a secret mystical code that can, quite literally, trigger divine transformation, and inspire each of us to reach higher as we endeavor to initiate a new year and infuse it with new blessings.
The United Nations of the Future
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 47, Part 2
Following a brief preamble to the unique nature of Psalm 47, we proceed to the inaugural verses. A sweeping prophetic vision of world-nations in the post ‘Gog and Magog’ era. Universal abandonment of aggression will see former rivals transcending differences and uniting in a higher calling to our common Creator. Discover divergent dimensions of this magnificent messianic montage of the future; ranging from jubilant cries to melancholy ululating. As a never heretofore phenomenon of global G-d consciousness becomes the new normal, atheists and deists alike will suddenly see the light, acknowledging G-d’s supremacy and immanent presence.
Global Warming and the New World Order
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 47, Part 3
In the post-mortem of the cataclysmic war of Gog and MaGog, unprecedented winds of change will sweep across the globe. Wicked peoples of irredeemable evil will feverishly succumb to devastating pestilence, whilst the upright and decent amongst the nations will together fall into step – travelling the road of righteousness to the newly re-energized Jerusalem. Emanating from our holy city, universal transformation will warmly unfold through the power and force of spirit, instead of the spirit of force and coercion.
G-d’s Global Choice, Part 1
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 47, Part 4
As the messianic panorama will unfold, The Eternal will “choose” our geographic heritage once again, and bring about the restoration of the nation and land of Israel's former shared glory. The aftershocks of this divine “choice” will powerfully reverberate, ultimately causing global transformation! Yet, if the Psalmist merely sings of restoring what once was why would a public selection be necessary? By introducing a rare Chasidic interpretation, this class weaves together a most magnificent homily.
G-d's Global Choice, Part 2
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 47, Part 5
Building on the thesis previously initiated, we return to the initial point of departure: why emphasize G-d's ‘choosing’ what’s already long been determined. We proceed to develop a finely stitched, fresh and foundational understanding of free-choice itself. Radiantly illuminating the entire Psalm woven with vibrant colors and crisper shades of Rosh Hashanah, the Shofar’s sounding and the very organic essence of our Jewishness itself emerge in dazzling new focus.
“G-d is My Portion”: Royal Choices & Humble Entreaty
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Chet part 1)
King David now elects to proudly publicize his portion of choice and personal value system—with an eye towards positively inspiring others. Then he humbly pleads for continued spiritual success as he yearns for closeness to Hashem. On a deeper level, identifying the Neshamah (sacred soul) as a G-dly portion from on high, effectively empowers meticulous observance as the magnitude of our mission humbles and subdues us (verses 57-58).
Reflective Royalty Returns Results
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Chet part 2)
King David royally reflects on Torah morality and ethical values, virtues and the path of righteousness we should elect to follow in the journey called life. Didactically sharing his own customary contemplation of choices at the crossroads, the Sweet Singer of Israel empowers us to make the oftentimes difficult decision to displace our evil inclination, and travel the highway of holiness – thusly exercising our G-d-given spiritual right of return. The result is a rush towards righteousness, eschewing any delay in the observance of Hashem's commandments.
Embattled, Yet Composed
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Chet part 3)
Time and again, the Sweet Singer of Israel was surrounded by bands of bad brothers; who attacked, overwhelmed and even plundered him. Remarkably, King David somehow manages to muster mindfulness and maintain spiritual courage, composure and emotional equilibrium. Delving into the intriguing commentary on the unique etymology employed by the Psalmist, a telling and compelling narrative forms the basis for timeless inspiration and guidance—especially meaningful in our modern day and age of social media.
The Dark Night Moves
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Chet part 4)
Revealing rhyme and reason of King David’s strange nocturnal schedule. On the most literal of levels, the strings of a decorative harp adorning his royal state bed would melodically vibrate at midnight awaking the prayerful Monarch, who would rise to thank the Al-mighty for his righteous judgments. In a deeper metaphoric sense this darkest time of night represents deepest despair; from which we must rebound with faith-filled vigor. (Psalm 119, verse 62)
King David’s Friendship, Hashem’s Kindness
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Chet part 5)
See how the King’s love and friendship towards those who “fear Heaven,” in tandem with the kindness he sought from Hashem, serve as a profound testaments of selfless humility; revealing much about our eternal monarch’s moral compass and personal value system. This class artfully weaves together diverse commentary on the subject; and a rich teaching-tapestry emerges.
The Verses of Tet
Audio | 1:02:12
The Verses of Tet
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Tet, part 1)
The study of verses beginning with the Hebrew letter Tet, (which represents Tov = good) present King David ruminating on G-d’s goodness towards him, as well as revealing our spirited monarch’s deepest aspirations and personal definition of good. Discover unique interplay between logic, rhyme & reason and pure faith, and the mutually beneficial synergy they share.
King David's Royal Mistakes Contrasted with Divine Perfection
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Tet, part 2)
This class begins with the fascinating literary excavation of the meaning and etymology of a single word, which ultimately provides profound insight into how life's lessons are learned. This will enable us to rise above shortcomings and misdeeds by attaining higher consciousness and elevated awareness. Is it about education and knowledge, the effort expended and often times frustration engendered in its pursuit, is it about the wisdom of experience or the value of crushingly humbling encounters?
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