Tehillim Groups


Jessie Fischbein



I was reading “Duties of the Heart”, and what Rabbenu Bachya said seems to disagree with the current practice of getting together to read Tehillim (Psalms), where many people do not know what they are saying.

He is talking about two tefillos (prayers) that he composed, an entreaty and an admonition:

“Whoever undertakes this should adopt the following method. He should recite the Admonition while seated, after first prefacing it with whatever he chooses of the usual psalms or the like. He should then recite the Entreaty, standing and then bowing low, until it's end. He should then kneel and recite whatever supplications he wishes and follow them with the psalm that opens “How blessed are those of upright way” (Tehillim 119) and the entire group of psalms that bear the title "A Song of Ascents” (ibid 120-134). If one chooses to recite other prayers or use any other order, he may do so; I merely suggest to you the most fitting way of going about it.

The main thing, my brother, is to have purity of spirit when you recite these prayers, and that you concentrate on them properly, recite them (and what follows them) slowly, and not let your tongue get ahead of your heart; for a little bit of prayer, with the heart’s devotion, is better than a lot recited rapidly with the tongue, when your heart is empty from it.”