Reciting Tehillim on Shabbat
I’ve heard that we should not say Tehillim (Psalms) on Shabbat. Is there any issue with this?
The Aish Rabbi Replies
In general it is fine to recite Tehillim on Shabbat. The reason it might be a concern is that people often say Tehillim on behalf of someone who is sick or has other needs. And we are not supposed to pray for our physical needs on Shabbat. The reason is because we should not upset ourselves on Shabbat by dwelling on what we lack. We should rather feel God has granted us all we need and all that is right for us. Likewise, if we visit someone who is sick on Shabbat, we do not extend wishes that the person recover but we say: “It is Shabbat from crying out – and healing is soon to come” (“Shabbat hee mi’liz’ok u’refuah kerovah la’vo”).
An exception to this is someone whose sickness is immediately life-threatening (as opposed to someone who has a long-term illness, even chronic). In cases of urgent danger to life we do pray on Shabbat.
In addition, if you accepted for example to say Tehillim daily for a person in need, you can do so even on Shabbat. But you should not add at the end prayers for the wellbeing of the person you are praying for – as should be done during the week. You can add petitions for the person’s recovery after Shabbat.
(Sources: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 287:1, Mishna Berurah 2; O.C. 288:10, Mishna Berurah 28.)