Tag Archives: Tehillim

Prayers and Mitzvot for the Three Israeli Youth in Captivity

Ready to say Tehillim and Mishebeirach? What can you do to help?

The whole Jewish world is praying for the safe return of three Israeli youth, being held yet another day by Hamas terrorists. Share their faces, and as world citizens demand better of the Palestinian Authority and their already perilous “unity government.”

And do a good deed in the honor of these boys. Pray and say Tehillim (Psalms) their merit, and their names:

Yaakov Naftali Ben Rachel Devorah (Fraenkel, 16 years old)

Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim (Shaer, 16 years old)

Eyal ben Iris Teshura (Yifrach, 19 years old)

Two of the three teenagers abducted are students in Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s Mekor Haim Yeshiva High School in Jerusalem. (see “Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz calls for prayers for teens’ return”)

SHAARH FAMILY / FRENKEL FAMILY / YIFRAH FAMILY / HANDOUT/EPA. (from left to right) Gilad Shaarh , Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah have been missing since last week.

SHAARH FAMILY / FRENKEL FAMILY / YIFRAH FAMILY / HANDOUT/EPA. (from left to right) Gilad Shaarh , Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah have been missing since last week.

As noted by the rabbi, many of us feel deeply pained and even utterly helpless in the face of such a horrible crime against civilian youth. But is there any way we can help?

Yes! We can prevail over hatred of Jews and the terrorism it promotes by proliferating the world with spiritual acts. Acts of chesed (kindness) to properly shame the values of the cowardly. We are not helpless! What we can do is pray with intentions of peace. And fill this dark world with acts of kindness.

Join people worldwide in prayer and good deeds. Including the Jews and Muslims who are praying at the very site the of the abduction, at the Gush EtZion settlement block in the West Bank. (see “At kidnapping site, Jews and Muslims join in prayer.” Times of Israel)

Need help selecting and pledging a mitzvah? You can find help with both online at, “Mitzvot for the Israeli Students.” (Chabad.org) There are so many things the average person can do. You don’t have to be super-spiritual, just pledge to do a Jewish act that you might know how to do but are a bit out of touch with. Do it with the thought in mind that you are doing this soulful act in the merit of those young boys who are not yet free to do these sacred mitzvot.

Need help communicating your prayers? One of the both centering and unifying things about Jewish prayer is the collective experience. Not that we always pray together as a community and discourage private prayer. But what I mean is that even when we pray on our own, most often we tend to use prayers which unite us through a collective experience of liturgy and language.

Our friends over at the Open Siddur Project have provided the Misheiberach prayer (“May the One who blesses…”) which is being circulated for the speedy and safe return of the three captives. This document also includes Psalm 142 in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Misheberakh for those held in Captivity” (Open Siddur)

As the army and police tirelessly search for the captives in the most perilous of terrains and civil conditions. We also stand with the service personnel and their families. Here is a Mishebeirach Prayers, one for the State of Israel and another for the Israel Defense Forces.

Mishebeirach Prayers for Israel and the IDF” (Hardcore Mesorah)

Please share these prayers with your congregation or chavura group, these are appropriately added during the Torah reading service or at any other times the Misheibeirach is said in your community. Or even during your own personal prayer and meditation.

Do you want to say Tehillim? One of the most common ways for Jews to pour out our hearts is through reciting Tehillim. This is quite possibly one of the oldest and most intimate forms of supplication. But do you know why we engage in the recitation and reflection upon the Psalms? Learn the how and why of saying Tehillim. I have also included several Psalms which are appropriate for those who are saying Tehillim at this time in the following piece:

Saying Tehillim for Israel and the IDF” (Hardcore Mesorah)

It is most common for people to say the following two psalms in time of danger and distress:

Psalm 20

Psalm 142

At this time our rabbis and scholars are also suggesting the following appropriate psalms for these young boys:

Psalm 121

Psalm 143

Lastly, do something completely practical, appeal to peoples humanity! Join in vigils for these youth. Start a community dialogue regarding the peace process. Help the world see this through the eyes of humanity.

And as concerned citizens we need to voice our appall with all who would rejoice and encourage their children celebrate the capture of youth not much older than themselves. It’s not just our boys that are being harmed, it’s also Arab children who are being distorting with this type of hateful brainwashing through social media! (see “More Palestinian Reactions To Kidnapping: The Most Disturbing Of All”)

Remember our boys until they come home! Share their faces and names, remind people these youth are not abstract components of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. They are real youth; with families, friends, and a people who care deeply for them. These are real youth; with dreams, passions and talents.

Related articles:

Do you need a siddur? This blog proudly cooperates with The Open Siddur Project. The project is a volunteer based organization dedicated to documenting and making the wealth of Jewish prayer and prayer resources available with free, redistributable licensing in electronic format and print formats. You can find my contributions of liturgy HERE. Find out how you can also be a part of this worthy cause!

Ten Tehillim (Psalms) for After a Terror Attack

Psalms You Can Say In Vigil for the Victims of the Boston Terror Attack

Terrorist Attack on the Boston Marathon: the people of Israel and all America stands with Boston.

Terrorist Attack on the Boston Marathon: the people of Israel and all Americans stand with the City of Boston.

During great times of distress it is the Jewish custom to engage in prayers and the saying of Tehillim (Psalms). Psalms are actually liturgical songs, and for this reason they are the backbone of Jewish prayer. The Psalms are not only a deep guide for prayer, but they are also a heartfelt book of poetry that provides prayers for strength and words of comfort to those who utilize them.

To learn more about the reciting of Tehillim (Psalms), please refer to the following article:

Most often for chassidim Psalms are said at night or in the darkness of the early morning, during times of reflection and devotion. It may even be paired with Tikkun Chatzot, or the Bedtime Shema.

I have handpicked these ten Psalms that I believe are appropriate for this incident. Certain standard Tehillim are most often suggested after terrorist attacks or similar disasters; Psalms 23, 83 and 121. Psalm 46 is also a commonly appropriate chapter, it also holds special significance for Americans since it has been previously invoked by President Barak Obama in memory of the victims of the 9/11 attack.

May G-d hear our prayers and bring a speedy recovery, and restore the peace and joy to the city of Boston and all the Artzot haBrit – The United States, or literally in Hebrew “the Land of The Covenant.” (a term derived in references to our Constitution).

Psalm 46 – “G-d is for us a shelter and a strength, a help in troubles; He is very accessible… But as for the river-its rivulets shall cause the city of G-d, the holy place of the dwellings of the Most High, to rejoice. Gd is in its midst that it should not totter; G-d shall help it as morning approaches… The L-rd of Hosts is with us; the G-d of Jacob is our fortress forever.”

Psalm 20 – “May the L-rd answer you on a day of distress; may the name of the G-d of Jacob fortify you. May He send your aid from His sanctuary, and may He support you from Zion… They kneel and fall, but we rise and gain strength.”

Psalm 23 – “The L-rd is my shepherd; I shall not want. Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff-they comfort me.”

Psalm 83 – “O G-d, have no silence, do not be silent and do not be still, O G-d. For behold, Your enemies stir, and those who hate You raise their heads. Against Your people they plot cunningly, and they take counsel against Your protected ones….”

Psalm 121 – “I shall raise my eyes to the mountains, from where will my help come? My help is from the L-rd, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to falter; Your Guardian will not slumber.”

Psalm 27 – “The L-rd is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The L-rd is the stronghold of my life; from whom shall I be frightened? When evildoers draw near to me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies against me-they stumbled and fell.”

Psalm 56 – “They lodge, they hide, they watch my steps, when they hope for my life… Then my enemies will retreat on the day that I call. Thereby I will know that I have a G-d… In G-d I trusted. I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Psalm 64 – “Hear, O G-d, my voice in my prayer; from fear of the enemy You shall guard my life. You shall hide me from the counsel of evildoers, from the gathering of workers of iniquity.”

Psalm 68 – “May Gd rise up; His enemies scatter, and those who hate Him flee from before Him. As smoke is driven away, You will drive [them] away; as wax melts before fire, the wicked will perish from before G-d. And the righteous will rejoice, yea, they will exult before G-d and they will delight with joy.”

Psalm 70 – “May those who seek my life be shamed and humiliated; may those who desire my harm turn back and be disgraced… May all those who seek You exult and rejoice, and may those who love Your salvation say constantly, “May G-d be magnified”… But I am poor and needy, O G-d, hasten to me; You are my aid and my rescuer, O L-rd, do not delay.”

Saying Tehillim for Israel and the IDF

Saying Tehillim for Israel and the IDF
What can the faithful do religiously to help during crisis?

IDF SOldier, Birkat Kohanim

IDF soldiers extending the Birkat Kohanim – the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26).

Often times during seasons of crisis or turmoil people turn to the scriptures for comfort. Probably the most well-known and often read books of the bible is Tehillim – the Psalms. Though the Psalms have many authors, a great bulk of them are attributed to King David who set a standard for combing prayers with poetry. In fact the Psalms are more than just poetry, they have all the makings of true music. They are famous songs of the heart that seem to rise the surface when our peace is ruptured. We turn back to the timelessness of the Davidic tradition, prayers said in deep words by people who truly understood overcoming suffering and hardships. We say psalms in their example and in their merit, that G-d should comfort and answer us likewise.

It is not by accident that we often fall back upon the Psalms, they actually make up a major part of the liturgy for Jews and people of many other faiths as well. This seems to be ideally what it was created for, as a graciously choreographed form of communal prayer that is filled with all the touches of personal devotion. Psalm 23 for example is probably the most known religious chapter in the world, “The L-rd is my shepherd, I shall not want… yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” This one psalm though it speaks of gloom it does not wallow in it, and has become the backbone for both times of grief like funerals and at times of celebration like Shabbat evening. It’s always a good time to say some tehillim because they are just so beautiful and meaningful on so many levels.

But some psalms carry a strong theme. Sometimes we pair certain Psalms together in order to be said in vigil. The most common example is saying tehillim for the sick. In our tradition it is common for people to take up Psalms relating to sickness and healing, or even verses that remind them of the person they are hoping a speedy recovery for. One says them together during our times of prayer in order to hope in G-d for their healing. We cause our prayers to rise up for this person to heaven in psalm. For that there are many methods and suggested lists of Psalms, both long and short. (Need help figuring out which tehillim to say for a sick person? Try this, at DailyTehillim.com)

But psalms can be paired together for all kinds of reasons, some are songs of praise and thanksgiving, while others can be about lamenting and mourning. The Psalms has prayers for almost every conceivable occurrence if we are open to the raw emotion of the words.

Soldier in TefillinBut most often for chassidim the Psalms are said at night or in the darkness of the early morning, during times of reflection and devotion (maybe even paired with Tikkun Chatzot, or the Bedtime Shema). For chassidim and the mystically inclined that are interested in looking inward, the reflection on the words of King David are always appropriate. And as the Likkutei Mohoran of Rebbe Nachman teaches us when we look into the Psalms of King David and we see his pleading regarding being saved from his wars, we should reflect on them our own personal wars with the yetzer hara – our evil impulse. (Likkutei Mohoran 101, 125) This is our most common way of saying tehillim on a day-to-day basis.

But sometimes there comes when the battle is more than just a personal struggle, the war is not the normative internal battle with the self. Sometimes there are seasons of turmoil and violence that disturb world peace. There are times when Israel finds itself in the literally need of salvation and deliverance from the trials of war and calamity. In these cases there are not so many examples of what chapters of Psalms to say, actually there are so many that would be very appropriate and are literally concerning battle. Here are a few that I think would be good suggestions in this time of crisis. We can say one or a few psalms a day after your prayers in order to hope in G-d for the safe deliverance of Israel and the safety of the Israel Defense Forces. One can select any psalm that fulfills the cry of their heart for the circumstances at hand. Here are some suggestions:

Psalm 144 – Deliverance from wars and the enemy’s slander. I would highly suggest this psalm. This song has a seeming chorus to it, it repeats the words “Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hand of strangers, whose mouth speak falsehood, and their right hand is a right hand of lying.” During the past few Israel military offenses it has taken much abuse from the international community because of the bias and lies against the Jewish state. More than ever the people of Israel not only need deliverance from war but also from the slander of her enemies.

Psalm 46 – “G-d is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. We will not fear…”

Psalm 20 – “We will shout for joy in your victory, and in the name of our G-d we will set up our flags; Hashem fulfill all your petitions.”

Psalm 22 – “But You, O Hashem, be not far off; O You be my strength, hurry to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; mine only one, from the power of the dog.”

Psalm 69 – “Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters…For G-d will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah; and they shall abide there, and have it in possession.”

Psalm 121“I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains: from whence shall my help come?” Though sometimes added in part during the Bedtime Shema, it is a wonderful Psalm to consider in time of need.

Psalm 130 – Repentance and reflections from fears in the night. “My soul waits for Hashem, more than watchmen for the morning; yea, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in Hashem!”

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