Pesukei dezimra

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Pesukei dezimra (Jewish Babylonian Aramaic: פְּסוּקֵי דְּזִמְרָא, romanized: pǝsuqe ḏǝzimrāʾ "Verses of praise"; Rabbinic Hebrew: פַּסוּקֵי הַזְּמִירוֹת pasûqê hazzǝmîrôṯ "Verses of songs), or zemirot as they are called in the Spanish and Portuguese tradition, are a group of prayers that may be recited during Shacharit (the morning set of prayers in Judaism). They consist of various blessings, psalms, and sequences of other Biblical verses. Historically, reciting pesukei dezimra in morning prayer was a practice of only the especially pious. Over the course of Jewish history, their recitation has become widespread custom among all of the various rites of Jewish prayer.[1]

The goal of pesukei dezimra is for the individual to recite praises of God before making the requests featured later in Shacharit and the day.[2]


The first source for pesukei dezimra is in the Babylonian Talmud, where it is described as non-obligatory (performed by some people but not others):

Rabbi Yosei said: May my portion be among those who eat three meals on Shabbat. Apropos this statement of Rabbi Yosei, the Gemara cites additional declarations. Rabbi Yosei said: May my portion be among those who complete hallel every day. The Gemara is surprised at this: Is that so? Didn’t the Master say: One who reads hallel every day is tantamount to one who curses and blasphemes God. He displays contempt for hallel by not reserving it for days on which miracles occurred. The Gemara answers: When we say this statement of Rabbi Yosei, we are referring to the verses of praise [pesukei dezimra], recited during the morning service, not to hallel (Psalms 113–118) recited on special days.[3]

Later commentaries explain what pesukei dezimra consists of: Rashi said it means psalms 148 and 150,[4] Saadia Gaon said it means psalms 145, 148, 149, 150, while Menachem Meiri and Maimonides[5] said it means all of psalms 145-150. Nowadays, it is customary for pesukei dezimra to include psalms 145-150 as well as several other psalms, recitations, and blessings before (Barukh she'amar) and after (Yishtabach) pesukei dezimra.

Elsewhere, the Talmud states that a person should praise God first and only afterwards begin their prayer.[6] Opinions differ as to which praise is referred to: the first three blessings of the Amidah,[7] the Shema blessings,[8] or to pesukei dezimra.[9]

For a long time, these prayers remained optional. Eventually, pesukei dezimra were incorporated into all standard Jewish prayer services. Maimonides taught that prayer should be recited in an upbeat mood, slowly, and wholeheartedly, and that rushing through them (as many who recite them daily do) defeats their purpose.[10]: 169 

Rashi commented Talmud Berakhot 4b that "Three times" is prayer that is psalm 145 is personal Jewish prayer what is said three times a day.[11] Rashi considered that singing of three psalms 145, 148, 150 in the morning is Jewish personal prayer (not communal). Maimonides considered the same, that communal prayer begins just starting from Kaddish and Shema.




  • Songs of thanksgiving
  • Psalm 30
  • The following psalms are recited on Shabbat, and Yom Tov only: 19, 33, 90, 91, 98
  • On Yom Tov, the psalm for each holiday is recited: On Passover, 107; On Shavuot, 68; on Sukkot, 42 and 43; on Shemini Atzeret, 12
  • The following psalms are recited on Shabbat, and Yom Tov only: 121, 122, 123, 124, 135, 136,
  • Barukh she'amar
  • 92 and 93 (recited on Shabbat, and Yom Tov only)
  • Psalm 100 (recited on Erev Yom Kippur and Erev Passover, omitted on Shabbat and Yom Tov)
  • Yehi Kivod
  • Hallel (pesukei dezimra) (Ashrei and psalms 145-150)
  • Baruch Hashem L'Olam
  • Vayivarech David
  • Ata Hu Hashem L'Vadecha
  • Az Yashir
  • Nishmat (Shabbat and Yom Tov only)
  • Shav'at Aniyim (Shabbat and Yom Tov only)
  • Yishtabach

Shabbat/Yom Tov additions[edit]

On Shabbat and holidays of biblical origin (and in the Eastern Ashkenazic rite, also on Hoshana Rabbah), various psalms are added between Hodu and Yehi Khevod. The reason for additions is that no one has to rush off to work on these days, thereby allowing extra time for praise.[10]: 178 

Ashkenazi Judaism includes the following psalms in the following order: 19, 33, 34, 90, 91, 135, 136, 92, and 93.[12]: 142 

Sephardic Judaism includes the following psalms in the following order: 103, 19, 33, 90, 91, 98, 121, 122, 123, 124, 135, 136, 92, and 93.[12]: 142 

On Shabbat and Jewish holidays, Nishmat is inserted between the Song of the sea and the closing blessing; according to many, it is in fact an expanded version of the concluding blessing.

Following Nishmat, Shokhen Ad is inserted. On Shabbat, the hazzan for Shacharit begins recitation of Shochein Ad (technically speaking, it is not necessary to have a hazzan for Pesukei Dezimra at all). On the Three Pilgrimage Festivals, there are a variety of customs: According to the Eastern Ashkenazic rite, the hazzan begins the service on the previous verse known as Hakel B'tzatzumot on each of the Pilgrimage Festivals, signifying miracles God performed associated with these three holidays. According to the Western Ashkenazic rite, the hazzan begins ha-gibur la-nezach on Passover, Hakel B'tzatzumot on Shavuot and ha-gadol bi-khvot shemecha on Sukkot.[13] On the High Holy Days, the hazzan begins on the word Hamelekh (המלך) within that verse, as during these days, an emphasis is placed on recognition of God as King.[14] It is also described in the Book of Life that loudly chanting the word Hamelekh has the effect of driving away accusers from the throne of judgement.[15] Additionally, the letter ה is dropped off the word היושב, alluding to the fact that now God is sitting on the throne.[16]

Recitation by women[edit]

There is an argument among Orthodox rabbis as to whether women are required or even permitted to recite pesukei dezimra, given that it is considered by some to be a timebound commandment. The opinions either require women to recite it completely, prohibit the recitation of Barukh She'amar and Yishtabach among women, or allow but not require its recitation.

Ashkenazi Judaism considers pesukei dezimra to be an obligation on the basis that it is not timebound, and it can be recited at any time of day.[17]: 170 

Opinions in Sephardic Judaism are divided.[17]: 171  Some opinions allow women to recite pesukei dezimra without its accompanying blessings.[17]: 184 



  1. ^ Peninei Halakha- Laws Of Prayer by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed
  2. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur, page 58
  3. ^ Shabbat 118b
  4. ^ Rashi to Shabbat 118b
  5. ^ Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Tefilah 7:12
  6. ^ "Berakhot 32a:32".
  7. ^ "Berakhot 32a:32".
  8. ^ "Ralbag on Torah, Deuteronomy 3:23:3".
  9. ^ "Bach, Orach Chaim 51:2:1".
  10. ^ a b Hayim H. Donin (13 August 2019). To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayer Book and the Synagogue Service. Basic Books. ISBN 978-1-5416-1816-9. OCLC 1309865166.
  11. ^ Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice (Psalms 55.17)
  12. ^ a b Holladay, William L. (1996). The Psalms Through Three Thousand Years: Prayerbook of a Cloud of Witnesses. Augsburg Fortress. ISBN 978-0-8006-3014-0.
  13. ^ Sefer Maharil, Spitzer edition, page 141, footnote B1 (in bottom right corner).
  14. ^ Rite and reason: 1050 Jewish customs and their sources By Shmuel Pinchas Gelbard, page 246
  15. ^ The Complete Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah, page 404
  16. ^ A guide to Jewish religious practice By Isaac Klein, page 185. Note that the hey appears like the rest of the year in all manuscripts and was dropped later, see Daniel Goldschmidt, Rosh Hashanah Machzor, page 43.
  17. ^ a b c Ellinson, G. (1992). The modest way: a guide to the rabbinic sources. Philipp Feldheim. ISBN 978-1-58330-148-7.

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