The Psalms or Tehillim in Hebrew, are the core of Jewish liturgy; its poetry believed to be a treasury of theurgical power. This power goes beyond mere words. It has the ability to heal, to bring about intervention, and to awaken our own awareness. If each of us is like a lonely world unto ourselves, then perhaps through shared songs, we can unite and reconnect with the world we share together. These ancient melodies, discovered through our private readings of these sacred songs, have the potential to heal, liberate, and redeem our souls with renewed compassion.
According to Gemara Pesaḥim 117a, there are ten kinds of songs in the Tehillim: Ashrei, Berakha, Maskil, Nitzuaḥ, Shir, Niggun, Mizmor, Tefillah, Hoda'ah, and Hallelu-Yah. In the early 19th century, Rebbe Naḥman, a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, taught that the recitation of ten Psalms, each representing one of these categories, could act as a Tiqqun, a remedy. Through the process of t'shuva, these Psalms lead us to an awareness of the divine presence that permeates and enlivens this world, though it may be hidden by our transgressions.
One powerful practice of purification is the recitation of the blessing of Ana, said daily and with deep intention. By hitting our hearts on each word, we channel our focus and energy into the process of rectifying and purifying ourselves. The act of saying this blessing enables us to purify ourselves, reinforcing our commitment to t'shuva and aligning ourselves with the divine. With each recitation, we embark on a journey of spiritual cleansing and seek to bring our souls closer to their purest state.
Through the recitation of sacred Psalms and the blessing of Ana, we invite the beauty of purification into our lives. By embracing these practices daily, we open ourselves to the transformative power of divine connection and embark on a path of continuous growth and spiritual elevation.