Old Testament Summary Lesson 25: “Let Every Thing That Hath Breath Praise The Lord”
- Scriptures–Important Part of Jewish Life: Every congregation, whether Orthodox, Conservative or Reform reads the same Torah section on Mondays, Thursdays and Sabbaths (Saturdays). There are additional readings on High Days such as Yom Kippur, Passover, Sukkoth, Rosh Hannah, Shavuot, etc. In addition, readings from the “Neviim,” the Prophets, and the “Ketuvim,” their writings, are added. Over the years, these additional readings have been added to assist in explaining the Torah portion.
- Singing the Scriptures and Prayers: Reading scriptures and praying are to be done in a singing or chanting way to differentiate the common everyday sounds of the mouth with the Word of the Lord or words to the Lord. A pattern of singing has developed that puts emphasis on particular syllables and words. When a boy has a Bar Mitzvah, he is accompanied by a person who may prompt him to sing his words correctly while making sure that his clothing, cap, robe, sash, etc. is worn correctly. Singing is a festive part of many Jewish occasions. Many times, the Eastern Jews (Sephardic) and Western Jews (Ashkenazi) sing the same lyrics with their own ethnic music and intonation.
- Reading Psalms along with Torah: “The Psalter, as the work is often called in English, contains 150 Psalm-chapters, divided into five books, each of which, except the last, concludes with a doxolgy, or formulaic hymn of praise to God. This division seems to represent successive stages in the composition of the work as a whole, in such a way that the final crystallized form of 150 reflects a cumulative edition of what were once separate collections. The five-fold arrangement was apparently chosen in conscious duplication of the five books of the Pentateuch. It may have been the result of the reading of the Psalms week by week in association with the Torah readings.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Some Read Psalms Completely Daily: “The great popularity of the Psalms can be judged from the fact that most large prayer books contain the Psalms in their entirety, and that special hevrot tehillim, societies for the recitation of Psalms, exist in many parts of the world. In Jerusalem, two separate groups recite all of the Psalms daily at the Western Wall.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)