Throughout history, David HaMelech’s book of Psalms has been a traditional source of inspiration, chizuk, clarity, and comfort in times of distress. Whenever we find ourselves in difficult situations, whether individually or communally, we open up the Book of Psalms and use David HaMelech’s poetic praises and supplications to ask Hashem for mercy. Throughout the 150 chapters, there are praises, declarations, and supplications spanning the full range of human emotions (e.g., fear, hope, despair, excitement). All of the chapters convey an emotional awareness of Hashem’s involvement in every aspect of our lives. The Midrash tells us that when King David compiled the Psalms, he had in mind himself, as well as every Jew of every generation and every circumstance. The words of the Psalms contain appropriate chapters for every possible situation, feelings, and circumstances.

Our Sages teach us that reciting the words of Sefer T’hilim and learning the lessons contained within them is commendable, whether on a regular basis or during times of distress. But more deeply, we should all strive to find ourselves in the words and relate the text to our specific needs and actually “live the mizmor.”

It’s always a good idea to open up a book of T’hilim in times of need. Our Sages teach us that some chapters are especially relevant in trying times. The following is a good general list of chapters to recite during specific situations:

For a Sick Person:

6, 9, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 28, 30-33, 37-39, 41, 49, 55, 56, 69, 86, 88-91, 102-104, 107, 116, 118, 142, 143, 148

At a Person’s Grave:

33, 16, 17, 72, 91, 104, 130

Tikun Klali of Rebbe Nachman (Rebbe Nachman recommended saying the following ten chapters to undo the spiritual damage caused by sin):

16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150

Danger to Jewish People or Eretz Yisrael:

20, 79, 80, 83, 121, 130, 142

Livelihood/Financial Stability:

23, 104, 128, 145

All Purpose (Marriage, Children, Happiness, Fulfillment, Peace of Mind, etc.)

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.

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