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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 10:48 am
All the time I see, say Tehillim for this or for that, or to ask for healing for someone, so on, so on. I am terrible at reading Hebrew, and I cringe every time I see someone ask for women to volunteer to say a kapitel of Tehillim. I'm afraid the long complicated kapitel is going to fall on me to say. Please someone tell me what is the good of just mouthing words in Hebrew that I can't really pronounce or understand. Is it just another one of those red string type segulahs?
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amother




Lime
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 10:51 am
Same question
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miami85




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 10:55 am
Tehillim was written by Dovid Hamelech--who had a hard life--to connect to Hashem in a time of struggle. And tzar, struggle, illness, "bad luck" is really a message for us to connect to Hashem. Thus if one hears of ill-news and feels the need to "cry out"--really anything will do, but so can saying a passage of tehillim--some are considered more opportune for certain occasions, but a prayer is a prayer. If saying Tehillim is hard, start by learning one and say that one over and over again, but the more you say tehillim and different ones the easier it gets. I knew of a rebbe that had 1st grade boys read tehillim as kriah practice while they were waiting for others to be done with an assignment instead of just "wasting time".
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amother




Orange
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 10:57 am
Op, my question is whether tehilim actually helps? Meaning are people who we are saying tehilim for better off than those that no tehilim is said for?
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 10:58 am
miami85, I understand what you're saying, but it seems to me more like people are using it as some kind of magic, lhavdil, than as a real prayer. That's my objection.
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amother




Bronze
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:02 am
Oy
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Frumme




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:05 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
All the time I see, say Tehillim for this or for that, or to ask for healing for someone, so on, so on. I am terrible at reading Hebrew, and I cringe every time I see someone ask for women to volunteer to say a kapitel of Tehillim. I'm afraid the long complicated kapitel is going to fall on me to say. Please someone tell me what is the good of just mouthing words in Hebrew that I can't really pronounce or understand. Is it just another one of those red string type segulahs?


No, saying tehillim is more than just a segulah. It has actual power and there are many sources that allude to if we really understood how powerful tehillim was, we would constantly be saying it throughout the day.

Unfortunately, I, like you, find tehillim hard to read and very wordy. And it's the same sentiment many people (of all levels and derechs) have. I'm here to tell you that you can read tehillim in any language you choose!

Other tehillim tips include:
1) practice, honestly. Just practice the same few kapitelach until you have them "down pat" so to speak. For example try saying the kapitel corresponding to your age (25 if you're 24, etc). Then you'll always have one memorized in your "back pocket."

2) choose kapitelach that you're familiar with. They give you an ego boost! For example, I really like saying Yom 27 because it's mostly all kapitelach I already know from davening and bentching!

3) if someone asks you to say tehillim, don't just take whatever tehillim they ask you to do. Bargain! They don't have to know it's hard for you. You can tell them things like "oh I can only do 5 kapitelach this week, not 15” and don't feel embarrassed about it. Or just straight out ask if you can do Yom 1 or Yom 15 etc
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amother




Orchid
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:10 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
miami85, I understand what you're saying, but it seems to me more like people are using it as some kind of magic, lhavdil, than as a real prayer. That's my objection.


In that case, you're in good company. The Rambam - in hilchos avoda zara! - forbids saying Tehillim as a magical incantation. You cannot declare that saying certain perakim will yield results. He allows saying Tehillim as a form of tefilla, but clearly the ideal for him is just to daven.
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honey36




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:15 am
I also don't like saying tehillim. That said, I'll add the following story I heard that changed my mindset about it. I still don't do it too often but when I do I feel better about it.

A man came to his Rebbe (I forget which one, but one of the big ones) complaining about his wife. He says she says tehillim all day, but he thinks it's silly. She doesn't even know what she's saying, she just mumbles the words while shes holding the baby or standing over the stove and she's not thinking about what she's doing etc. What's the point?

The Rebbe said that tehillim is different than all the other books of tanach, and even than the siddur daily prayers. The words themselves have a real power. Even if she doesn't understand what she's saying or not paying attention etc. Just saying the words themselves have an impact and they do make a difference.

Another nice story:
Someone asked the mother of the chofetz chaim (pretty sure but could've been a different gadol) how she merited to have such a tzaddik for a son. She says, as a womean I found I have lots of "spare time" during the day- 5 minutes here when the children are busy, or 30 minutes while the bread is rising or the soup is cooking. I use that time to say tehillim. That's the big secret!
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honey36




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:20 am
Ah, I see the rambam apparently disagrees with the story I wrote. Sorry I don't remember the name of the Rebbe so it's not an actual source...but I'm curious if everyone is in agreement with that rambam.
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amother




Orange
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:20 am
Frumme wrote:
No, saying tehillim is more than just a segulah. It has actual power and there are many sources that allude to if we really understood how powerful tehillim was, we would constantly be saying it throughout the day.

Unfortunately, I, like you, find tehillim hard to read and very wordy. And it's the same sentiment many people (of all levels and derechs) have. I'm here to tell you that you can read tehillim in any language you choose!

Other tehillim tips include:
1) practice, honestly. Just practice the same few kapitelach until you have them "down pat" so to speak. For example try saying the kapitel corresponding to your age (25 if you're 24, etc). Then you'll always have one memorized in your "back pocket."

2) choose kapitelach that you're familiar with. They give you an ego boost! For example, I really like saying Yom 27 because it's mostly all kapitelach I already know from davening and bentching!

3) if someone asks you to say tehillim, don't just take whatever tehillim they ask you to do. Bargain! They don't have to know it's hard for you. You can tell them things like "oh I can only do 5 kapitelach this week, not 15” and don't feel embarrassed about it. Or just straight out ask if you can do Yom 1 or Yom 15 etc



I'm sure it says that tehilim is very powerful. I don't question that. My question is whether it helps in the way that we humans are trying to apply it. For example would you say that singles above 40 have said less tehilim than those married? Did the people who died from Covid have less tehilim said for them?

Is there any practical example you could share that would demonstrate that the people saying tehilim are getting better results than the people that aren't saying tehilim? I wish I could actually apply what you said instead of just repeating it to myself while realizing it doesn't make sense to me.
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amother




Orange
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:25 am
honey36 wrote:
I also don't like saying tehillim. That said, I'll add the following story I heard that changed my mindset about it. I still don't do it too often but when I do I feel better about it.

A man came to his Rebbe (I forget which one, but one of the big ones) complaining about his wife. He says she says tehillim all day, but he thinks it's silly. She doesn't even know what she's saying, she just mumbles the words while shes holding the baby or standing over the stove and she's not thinking about what she's doing etc. What's the point?

The Rebbe said that tehillim is different than all the other books of tanach, and even than the siddur daily prayers. The words themselves have a real power. Even if she doesn't understand what she's saying or not paying attention etc. Just saying the words themselves have an impact and they do make a difference.

Another nice story:
Someone asked the mother of the chofetz chaim (pretty sure but could've been a different gadol) how she merited to have such a tzaddik for a son. She says, as a womean I found I have lots of "spare time" during the day- 5 minutes here when the children are busy, or 30 minutes while the bread is rising or the soup is cooking. I use that time to say tehillim. That's the big secret!



What bothers me about this story is that it demonstrates that in fact tehilim changes life in a real and identifiable way. Yet, we don't ever see it. Would you argue that the people who say more tehilim suffer less? That they don't struggle as much with health, parnassa, or infertility? I don't think you'd say that. Yet you bring 1 story as if that story demonstrates tehilim works on a practical level while ignoring the millions of people who say tehilim and are suffering. Does this make sense?
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amother




Orchid
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:35 am
honey36 wrote:
Ah, I see the rambam apparently disagrees with the story I wrote. Sorry I don't remember the name of the Rebbe so it's not an actual source...but I'm curious if everyone is in agreement with that rambam.


No, not everyone agrees with the Rambam, but most just don't deal with the popular notion of Tehillim as being somehow magical.

Here's the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 179. (I don't have an English translation.)

He allows for incantations in cases where someone's life is in danger, because it might soothe the spirit. But whispering a pasuk in Hebrew as though it has magical properties to heal the sick is absolutely forbidden - he even says that someone who does this has no olam haba.

It's worth remembering that the Mechaber was a mekubal, even though we primarily know him for his halachic writing.

הלוחש על המכה או על החולה ורוקק ואחר כך קורא פסוק מן התורה אין לו חלק לעוה"ב ואם אינו רוקק איסורא מיהא איכא ואם יש בו סכנת נפשות הכל מותר: הגה וי"א דכל זה אינו אסור אלא כשקורא הפסוק בלשון הקדש אבל בלשון לעז לא (רש"י בשם רבו) ומיהו ברוקק טוב ליזהר בכל ענין בפרט אם מזכירין השם שאין לו חלק לעוה"ב (כן משמע מהטור לדעת ר"י):


This isn't a universal opinion, but some serious heavy hitters are vehemently opposed to these practices.

ETA, saying tehillim as an expression of love for Hashem is always a lovely thing to do.

As far as getting good results from Tehillim, nobody has ever done a double blind study to the best of my knowledge. My guess is that outcomes are bad because we tend to start saying Tehillim only after we hear that someone is deathly ill. There is research showing that people who belong to religious communities are healthier and live longer than those who don't. But it makes no difference what religion they practice
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amother




Cobalt
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:42 am
Even many secular folk have researched the “power of prayer” the positive effect on people in need
Many of our sages say that if we knew the powerful effect of saying tehilim we would say it all the time.
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honey36




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:44 am
amother [ Orange ] wrote:
What bothers me about this story is that it demonstrates that in fact tehilim changes life in a real and identifiable way. Yet, we don't ever see it. Would you argue that the people who say more tehilim suffer less? That they don't struggle as much with health, parnassa, or infertility? I don't think you'd say that. Yet you bring 1 story as if that story demonstrates tehilim works on a practical level while ignoring the millions of people who say tehilim and are suffering. Does this make sense?


No, it doesn't make sense on the surface. But your question is not specific to tehillim. Its more of the general "tzaddik v'rah lo, rasha v'tov lo" kind. I have a bunch of hypothetical answers to that question which I'm comfortable with and I would just apply them here. If your interested in that question I'm sure you can find lots of places to read up on it. Im pretty sure rav dessler deals with it in michtav m'eliyahu? Sorry, you can see my memory for actual sources is not great...
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Iymnok




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:50 am
It’s different if you’re just”saying tehillim”, or davening to Hashem.
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miami85




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 11:56 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
miami85, I understand what you're saying, but it seems to me more like people are using it as some kind of magic, lhavdil, than as a real prayer. That's my objection.


And that is misguided. We have a mesorah of "no prayer goes unanswered, sometimes the answer is 'no'" but even in a situation that seems "grim" the tehillim is supposed to be "a zechus for the neshama"--that it should have merits even if it does have to cross over.

I have heard rabbis object to the "daily refuah tehillim" because a)it makes it more casual and has less feeling, and b) we can't think that tehillim will cause open miracles. Like if a person was give r"l -- a month to live, that SUDDENLY the machla will just "go away", but even if a person is 105, or comatose and lived a full life it can help give the neshama zechus power to take with it on its eternal journey. I have had relatives running a tehillim group for a relative who had Corona months ago, but has dementia and is otherwise in a "stable condition" even though at this point he will likely never FULLY recover, it is a benefit in "prolonging" life, "making life on this earth more pleasurable" and its the prayers that he is no longer able to say.
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amother




Babyblue
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 12:03 pm
amother [ Orange ] wrote:
What bothers me about this story is that it demonstrates that in fact tehilim changes life in a real and identifiable way. Yet, we don't ever see it. Would you argue that the people who say more tehilim suffer less? That they don't struggle as much with health, parnassa, or infertility? I don't think you'd say that. Yet you bring 1 story as if that story demonstrates tehilim works on a practical level while ignoring the millions of people who say tehilim and are suffering. Does this make sense?


No it doesn't.
There were undoubtedly people who walked to their deaths saying Tehillim. It isn't magic. It's prayer, the unbelievable power we humans have to connect our souls with Hashem and communicate with Him.
It's not like turning on your washer and ending up with a load of clean laundry. It's something that exists on a spiritual level. Connecting with our neshama and connecting our neshama to its source enhances our existence in this world and in the next. It's not like going grocery shopping with a list and a pocketful of cash. It's an entirely different experience. It can and will be a source of blessing for the person saying the Tehillim and for the person they have in mind. It can act as a conduit for blessings that were supposed to come. It can bring blessing at a time and place we can't imagine.
Someone else suggested this, it's a great idea- There is benefit to saying the actual words, but if you find them hard, pick a perek that's easy for you, something very short. After you say it a few times it won't take you even five minutes to finish it.
I have a friend who always says when she's asked to join in saying Tehillim for someone - please give me the name, I don't join any groups, I'll say Tehillim for her on my own, and she says as much as she wants when she wants. You can do the same and say your personal perek of Tehillim whenever you want. You can find the translation on Chabad's website if you want to make the experience more meaningful.
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honey36




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 12:05 pm
amother [ Orchid ] wrote:
No, not everyone agrees with the Rambam, but most just don't deal with the popular notion of Tehillim as being somehow magical.

Here's the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 179. (I don't have an English translation.)

He allows for incantations in cases where someone's life is in danger, because it might soothe the spirit. But whispering a pasuk in Hebrew as though it has magical properties to heal the sick is absolutely forbidden - he even says that someone who does this has no olam haba.

It's worth remembering that the Mechaber was a mekubal, even though we primarily know him for his halachic writing.

הלוחש על המכה או על החולה ורוקק ואחר כך קורא פסוק מן התורה אין לו חלק לעוה"ב ואם אינו רוקק איסורא מיהא איכא ואם יש בו סכנת נפשות הכל מותר: הגה וי"א דכל זה אינו אסור אלא כשקורא הפסוק בלשון הקדש אבל בלשון לעז לא (רש"י בשם רבו) ומיהו ברוקק טוב ליזהר בכל ענין בפרט אם מזכירין השם שאין לו חלק לעוה"ב (כן משמע מהטור לדעת ר"י):


This isn't a universal opinion, but some serious heavy hitters are vehemently opposed to these practices.


Wow, so interesting. I mean I learned that if your davening is just "lip service" it's not worth anything and Hashem doesn't like it. But I've also learned that even if you just have kavanah for a small part of davening, it's worth something.

Im also pretty sure the chofetz chaim says that even if a person knows they won't have kavanah they shouldn't stop davening because it's like a broken watch. If someone just lets the watch sit for years and years without touching it, it will rust and become irreparable. But if every day he winds it and plays around with it, even though it won't be fixed, it will be able to be repaired one day.

I hear both sides of the argument. Its definitely a very interesting contraversy.
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amother




Babyblue
 

Post Sun, Feb 14 2021, 12:27 pm
amother [ Orchid ] wrote:
No, not everyone agrees with the Rambam, but most just don't deal with the popular notion of Tehillim as being somehow magical.

Here's the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 179. (I don't have an English translation.)

He allows for incantations in cases where someone's life is in danger, because it might soothe the spirit. But whispering a pasuk in Hebrew as though it has magical properties to heal the sick is absolutely forbidden - he even says that someone who does this has no olam haba.

It's worth remembering that the Mechaber was a mekubal, even though we primarily know him for his halachic writing.

הלוחש על המכה או על החולה ורוקק ואחר כך קורא פסוק מן התורה אין לו חלק לעוה"ב ואם אינו רוקק איסורא מיהא איכא ואם יש בו סכנת נפשות הכל מותר: הגה וי"א דכל זה אינו אסור אלא כשקורא הפסוק בלשון הקדש אבל בלשון לעז לא (רש"י בשם רבו) ומיהו ברוקק טוב ליזהר בכל ענין בפרט אם מזכירין השם שאין לו חלק לעוה"ב (כן משמע מהטור לדעת ר"י):


This isn't a universal opinion, but some serious heavy hitters are vehemently opposed to these practices.

ETA, saying tehillim as an expression of love for Hashem is always a lovely thing to do.

As far as getting good results from Tehillim, nobody has ever done a double blind study to the best of my knowledge. My guess is that outcomes are bad because we tend to start saying Tehillim only after we hear that someone is deathly ill. There is research showing that people who belong to religious communities are healthier and live longer than those who don't. But it makes no difference what religion they practice


Do you understand the translation of the your quotation?
I suspect not.
We don't believe in any form of incantations, magic or the like, they are assur.
Saying Tehillim to ask for health or for help with any issue does not fall into the same category.
For anyone who wants specific advice in this area- instead of stumbling through the sources on your own misunderstanding them and drawing incorrect conclusions, contact your lor, ask a shayla, reach out to the same person you call when your kids made mac n cheese in your meat dishes.
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