מאן הוא חכימא למתבע בעותא כדוד מלכא
"One who is wise should submit his prayers like King David"
For centuries, Jews of all backgrounds have followed this advice of the Zohar to make use of the Book of Tehillim as a source of prayer. Within the 150 Psalms one finds expression of virtually every kind of human emotion – joy, fear, sorrow, pain, anguish, despair, hope, confidence, exhilaration, frustration, yearning, awe, serenity and anxiety. Indeed, Tehillim provides an appropriate prayer for every occasion, feeling and experience. The same book that is the source of the beautiful Hallel service recited on the joyous festivals also contains stirring prayers for times of life-threatening danger. Tehillim thus demonstrates how profoundly one's relationship to the Almighty extends into each and every aspect of life, every experience, and every situation a person confronts.
The unique quality and power of Tehillim also stems from the "Ru'ah Ha'kodesh" – prophetic spirit – in which they were composed. "Come see how these songs and praises that David recited contain secrets and sublime concepts involving secrets of wisdom – because they were all recited with Ru'ah Ha'kodesh" (Zohar, Vayishlah). Underlying the words and letters of Tehillim are concepts and themes of great depth and profundity, reflecting the greatness of their author. The recitation and study of the Psalms thus grants us access to at least the "outer shell" of this great wisdom latent within the text.
While the Book of Tehillim was composed mainly by King David, the Gemara (Masechet Bava Batra 14b) teaches that some of the Psalms were written by other great men, including Adam Harishon, Moshe Rabbenu, and a number of prominent Levi'im. The Gemara speaks of these men as "Asara Zekenim," ten great scholars endowed with profound wisdom and prophetic insight which enabled them to compose such a sacred text.
An additional dimension of Tehillim emerges from a comment in the Midrash Tehillim (chapter 1), which records David's wish concerning the Psalms he composed. He prayed that these poems should be preserved for all time, and then added, "But people shall not read them like they read the works of Miras [a novelist]; they shall rather read them and study them, and receive reward for them just as [for studying the tractates of] Negaim and Ohalot…" David further prayed that "they shall read and mention it in synagogues and houses of study."
David's vision for the Book of Tehillim was that it would find its place both in the synagogue and in the houses of study; it would serve as both a source of prayer, and a text to be studied and analyzed. The Book of Tehillim is worthy of intensive learning no less than even the most intricate and complex tractates of the Talmud – in addition to its role as a source of beautiful prayers and supplications.
The Hida, in introduction to his Yosef Tehilot commentary to Tehillim, emphasizes the importance of reciting Tehilim. He writes, "One who recites Tehillim each day is considered as though he fulfilled the entire Torah and merits a place beneath the Throne of Glory… One who is accustomed to [reciting] Tehillim repels all kinds of calamities and several harmful plagues from him, his household, his family members, and his entire generation." And Rav Eliezer Papo comments in his work Pele Yoetz, "There is a tradition from holy, renowned men that one who confronts any hardship or distress, or who travels by road, at sea or in a river, should read the entire Tehillim each day without interruption, with concentration and submission, and he will experience wonders. This has been verified and proven."
It is in the spirit of King David's aspirations that we present this website to encourage both the recitation and study of the Book of Tehillim on a daily basis. We are confident that the unparalleled power of its words and the profundity of the messages it conveys will serve to enlighten and inspire Jews of all backgrounds. In the merit of David Hamelech, may our prayers and study be lovingly accepted by the Almighty, and render us and all Am Yisrael worthy of His blessings and protection.