What is a Tehillah?

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    • Michal 1 year ago


      I have been wondering what are the characteristics of the praise called Tehillah that we find in so many places in our prayers and seems to be something important to do.

      Chazal title Ashrei as “Tehilla L’Dovid”.  Incredibly they say whoever says Tehilla L’Dovid three times a day is guaranteed a title of Ben Olam Habbah[1].   Why? What is it about a Tehillah that Chazal promises such a person who says Tehilla L’Dovid three times a day, such a lofty position?

      The closing verse of Ashrei ends with תְּהִלַּ֥ת יְהוָ֗ה יְֽדַבֶּ֫ר־פִּ֥י וִיבָרֵ֣ךְ כׇּל־בָּ֭שָׂר שֵׁ֥ם קׇדְשֹׁ֗ו לְעֹולָ֥ם וָעֶֽד.  This verse seems to state that with Tehillah of Hashem spoken by his mouth, it will trigger all humanity to bless His Holy name eternally.

      We also  begin our Amidah, with the words, אֲ֭דֹנָי שְׂפָתַ֣י תִּפְתָּ֑ח וּ֝פִ֗י יַגִּ֥יד תְּהִלָּתֶֽךָWe have this word of Tehillah as the opening phrase of our Amidah Tefillah.

      There are many more verses that connect Tehillos to the most unbelievable concepts, abilities and realities.

      How exactly  do we say praises to Hashem that are considered  Tehillos to Hashem, to access these desirable levels in our service to Hashem?

      I found something very beautiful to me from the Ibn Ezra in the opening verse of Tehillah L’dovid under the words of תהלה לדוד ארוממך, a song of praise, of Dovid, I will raise You.

      He says that we can raise Hashem up, extol Him through Tehillos, in our speech and in our faithful hearts. בדבור ובאמונת הלב.

      In other words it is a combined praise that includes our speech, our articulation of praises to Hashem.  And it also includes אמונת הלב.

      The Sefer Hachinuch describes אמונת הלב to mean: “When he takes the thing from the potential to actuality, by which I mean to say when he puts into the words of his mouth what his heart decides – strengthens and completes the belief of the heart.”

      The Sefer Hachinuch is referring to the Emunah, “ To believe there is One God, and that caused all to exist, and that all that is, and was, and will forever and ever is from His Power and Ratzon. And if he is asked about it, he will respond to any enquirer that his heart believes this and he will not agree to change it, even if they say to kill him as a result. And if one merits to rise in the levels of wisdom, ‘his heart will understand and his eyes will see’ with a sealed proof that this belief that he believed is true and clear – it is impossible that there be something besides this – then he will fulfill this positive Mitzvah ”[2]

      May we all merit to sing our Tehillos founded on Emunas Halev, and expressed in our words when we daven to Hashem to be considered in the lofty group of “Ben Olam Habbah”, to be those who elevate all the world and Hashem’s Holy Name , Biezras Hashem.










      [1] Brachos, 4b:16

      [2] Sefer Hachinuch 25

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