Chazal and Commentaries from later generations speak at
length of the great importance of saying Tehillim with concentration and
from the heart. They tell us that it can save a person from all kinds of
troubles, including diseases of the body and the soul, as it says in the
midrash (Shocher Tov on Tehillim), “Everything that Dovid Hamelech
wrote in Tehillim pertains to every Jew at all times as well as to himself,”
Even though it is forbidden to read verses over a wound, and a person who
does so is considered a kopher b’Torah because he is turning the
words of the Torah into a remedy for the body, a healthy person is permitted
to say Tehillim so that the merit of doing so will protect him and he will
be spared troubles and distress.
The Sefer Hachinuch explains that saying Tehillim moves a person to place all his trust in G-d,
to fear Him and to trust in His chesed and goodness, and that this
inner awakening protects him from dangers. The Torah did not forbid a person
from saying words of Torah for the sake of the merit it brings and the
protection that merit confers. Besides awakening G-d’s mercy and
assistance, the recitation of Tehillim helps cleanse a person of chet
and pesha (sin). The author of the Nodeh BeYehudah, when
instructing a person on a path of teshuvah, wrote that in addition to
learning Torah, which is most essential, he should cling to Hashem through
the songs and praises of Dovid Hamelech because just as their study
purifies the soul, so too does their recitation.
Even though it is forbidden to recite the written Torah
from memory, it is permitted to recite Tehillim from memory because, since,
like prayer, they awaken G-d’s mercy, and are considered like prayers.
A person who does not have a Sefer Tehillim and knows
only one Tehillim by heart, should say it over and over again. It will be
pleasing to G-d as though he were learning the most complicated halachic
Chazal praise the person who recites Tehillim every day.
Tehillim should not be recited before reciting the
blessings over the Torah even when they are recited as prayers and not for
the sake of learning.
Even though on Shabbos Tehillim are not recited for a
sick person whose life is not in danger, it is permitted to recite Tehillim
on Shabbos. It is not considered a violation of petitioning G-d on Shabbos.
A person should be very careful not to spit while
reciting passages that include the name of G-d.
If a person recites one chapter of Tehillim every day, he
need not repeat it if he has recited it in the course of reciting the entire
An Onayn is forbidden to recite Tehillim, but
others are permitted to recite Tehillim in the presence of a person who has
died. A mourner is forbidden to study the Tehillim, but he may recite them
as a form of prayer and awakening to teshuvah.