Three daily chapters of Tehillim in Elul

This article is an excerpt from our Sefer

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Saying three chapters of Tehillim a day:[1]

From the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul it is customary to recite three chapters of Tehillim a day. We start from the first chapter, each day moving forward another three chapters. The final chapters are recited on Yom Kippur.[2] One is not to recite more than the allotted three chapters a day as part of this order.[3]

If one missed a day:[4] If one missed the three chapters of a given day, then he should first recite the current day’s three chapters and make up the chapters he missed on a later occasion.

 

When is the Tehillim to be recited; before or after the daily Tehillim?[5]

The Rebbe was accustomed to say it after the daily Tehillim and so is the current Chabad custom. It is said together with the congregation.

                                

 Elul                                          Tishrei                         Yom Kippur

Day

Chapters

Day

Chapters

Day

Chapters

Day

Chapters

Day

Chapters

1

1-3

11

31-33

21

61-63

1

88-90

Before Neila

115-123

2

4-6

12

34-36

22

64-66

2

91-93

Before sleep

124-132

3

7-9

13

37-39

23

67-69

3

94-96

After Musaf

133-141

4

10-12

14

40-42

24

70-72

4

97-99

After Neila

142-150

5

13-15

15

43-45

25

73-75

5

100-102

6

16-18

16

46-48

26

76-78

6

103-105

7

19-21

17

49-51

27

79-81

7

106-108

8

22-24

18

52-54

28

82-84

8

109-111

9

25-27

19

55-57

29

85-87

9

112-114

10

28-30

20

58-60


[1] Sefer Haminhagim [English] p. 113; Hayom Yom 1st of Elul

Background:

This custom was told to Tzemach Tzedek by his grandfather the Alter Rebbe when he was nine years old. The Alter Rebbe told him “I received from my master the Maggid, who received from his master the Baal Shem Tov, who received from his known teacher [Achiya Hashiloni].” Thus the custom dates back to Achiya Hashiloni which was one of the Sages listed as part of the continuity of the Torah Shebaal Peh. [Rambam Hakdama]

Other customs of Tehillim: Some have the custom to recite ten chapters of Tehillim daily after Shacharis starting from Rosh Chodesh Elul. They intend to complete the entire Sefer twice in correspondence to the Gematria of “Kaper” which is 300. After Rosh Hashanah they say Tehillim daily in a way that they complete the Sefer prior to Yom Kippur. [Mateh Efraim 581/8; M”B 581/3; Kaf Hachaim 581/22]  The Rebbe Rashab stated that the month of Elul is the month of Tehillim. [Shemuos Vesippurim 1/97] Some Chabad Chassidim in Russia were accustomed like the above mentioned Minhag to recite ten chapters of Tehillim daily after Davening. [Reshimos of Rav Chitrig; Otzer p. 13]

[2] As brought in the table below.

[3] Koveitz Michtavim Tehillim p. 208

[4] Hayom Yom ibid

[5] Otzer Minhagei Chabad Elul 13; Shevach Hamoadim 1/7; This is despite the fact that in the original source it states to recite it throughout the day.

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