Recommended Tehillim (Psalms) Lists
I have several frustrating issues going on in life today, as well as a relative who is really not well. I’d like to recite Tehillim. Is there a recommended list I should say?
The Aish Rabbi Replies
I hope your issues clear up very soon. It’s always a good idea to say Tehillim in times of need. All of them are good and meaningful, but some are especially relevant in trying times.
Before I provide the lists, it’s important to know that the psalms themselves are not prayers. They are only moving verses. Thus, when you have a need, it is not sufficient to recite any of the lists below. You must conclude with a request in what merit the recitation should be. The prayer can be in your own words and language. Most Hebrew editions of Tehillim include prayers to be said when one concludes his recitation, especially ones said for an ill person. Reciting Tehillim is thus not a prayer in itself, but makes our subsequent prayers more effective – both because of the merit of reciting Torah verses, and because their stirring words will inspire us to pray better.
Below I list some commonly recommended lists (listing the chapter numbers):
For a Sick Person
20, 6, 9, 13, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 28, 30-33, 37-39, 41, 49, 55, 56, 69, 86, 88-91, 102-104, 107, 116, 118, 142, 143, 148
A shorter alternative is: 20, 30, 121, 130, 142
Afterwards, the Hebrew name of the ill person is spelled out from the verses of chapter 119. Ch. 119 is an acrostic, containing eight verses for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus, for each letter of the person’s name, the eight relevant verses are recited. Some additionally spell out the word ben/bat (son or daughter of) and the mother’s Hebrew name, as well as the Hebrew words “kara satan” – “tear Satan” – implying that the sick person’s negative decree should be annulled.
At a Person’s Grave
33, 16, 17, 72, 91, 104, 130
Afterwards, the person’s Hebrew named is spelled out from the verses of 119, concluding with the word “neshama” (soul) = nun-shin-mem-hai.
Tikkun Klali of Rebbe Nachman
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was the founder of the Breslov Hassidic movement, and considered one of the greatest Hassidic masters. He recommended saying the following ten chapters to undo the spiritual damage caused by sin, especially the sin of wasting seed:
16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150
There are additional prayers Breslov Hassidim say together with them.
Danger to Jewish People
The following list includes Psalms particularly relevant when Israel or Jews are in danger:
20, 79, 80, 83, 121, 130, 142
This is a recommended list when one is looking for work, or needs greater financial stability:
23, 104, 128, 145
It's also a good idea to add to this from the all-purpose list below.
All Purpose (Marriage, Children, Happiness, Fulfillment, Peace of Mind etc.)
The following is a good general list for times of need (of course, any part of it is fine). Some of the most powerful ones are in bold:
3, 6, 13, 16, 20, 22, 23, 27, 32, 41, 42, 51, 56, 59, 70, 77, 86, 88, 90, 102, 121, 128, 130, 137, 142, 143, 150