Pesukei dezimra

Pesukei dezimra (Hebrew: פְסוּקֵי דְּזִמְרָא, P'suqế dh'zimra "hymnal verses") or zemirot, as they are called in the Spanish and Portuguese tradition, are a group of praises that may be recited daily during Jewish morning services. They consist of various blessings, psalms, and sequences of verses. Historically, pesukei dezimra was a practice of only the especially pious. However, overtime it has been accepted as an obligatory custom in all of the various rites of Jewish prayer[1]

The purpose of pesukei dezimra is so an individual will recite praises of God prior to making requests of God in prayer which take place later during Shacharit and throughout the day.[2]


The first source for Pesukei Dezimra is in the Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 118b, illustrating it is not an obligation ("May my portion be"):

Rabbi Jose said: "May my portion be among those who complete Hallel every day."
- Is this possible? For the master has said: "He who reads Hallel every day is a curser and blasphemer!"
- It (Rabbi Jose's statement) is said regarding Pesukei Dezimra.

Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 32b alludes to the name "verses of praise", real prayer (tefillah) comes later:[3]

A person should first recount the praise of the Holy One, blessed be He, and then pray

Later commentaries to this line explain what Pesukei Dezimra consists of: Rashi said it means Psalms 148 and 150, while Meiri 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 and recitations.

For a long time, these prayers remained optional. But Maimonides said that prayer should be recited in an upbeat mood, and as a result, these prayers became a part of the regular service. Maimonides also said that these prayers should be recited slowly and wholeheartedly, and that rushing through them as many who recite them daily do defeats their purpose.[4]




Shabbat/Yom Tov additions

Main articles: Nishmat and Shochen Ad

On Shabbat, holidays of Biblical origin, and 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.[5]

Ashkenazi Judaism includes the followings psalms in the following order: 19, 33, 34, 90, 91, 135, 136, 92, and 93.[6]:142

Sephardic Judaism includes the followings psalms in the following order: 103, 19, 33, 90, 91, 98, 121, 122, 123, 124, 135, 136, 92, and 93.[6]:142

On Shabbat and Yom Tov, Nishmat is inserted between the Song of the sea and the closing blessing.

Following Nishmat, Shochein Ad is inserted. On Shabbat, the chazzan is changed prior to the recitation of Shochein Ad. On Yom Tov, this occurs one paragraph earlier (Hakel B'Tzatzumot). On High Holidays, the new chazzan takes over at the word Hamelekh ("the King").

Do women recite Pesukei Dezimra?

There are questions 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 its recitation among women, allow but not require its recitation, or allow its recitation but prohibit Barukh She'amar and Yishtabach from being recited.

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.[7]:170

Opinions in Sephardic Judaism are divided.[7]:171 Some opinions allow women to recite Pesukei Dezimra without its accompanying blessings.[7]:184


  1. Melamed, Eliezer (2011). Peninei Halacha: Laws of Prayer. Maggid/Yeshivat Har Bracha. ISBN 9781613290330.
  2. The Complete Artscroll Siddur, page 58
  3. Freeman (editor), Raphael; Miller (publisher), Matthew; Sacks (introduction & commentary), Sir Jonathan (2009). [Sidur Ḳoren] = The Koren siddur [Nusaḥ Ashkenaz] (American ed.--1st bilingual ed.--Compact ed.). Jerusalem: Koren Publishers. pp. 62 ff. ISBN 9789653011465.
  4. To pray as a Jew: a vto the prayer book and the synagogue service By Hayim Halevy Donin, page 169
  5. To pray as a Jew: a guide to the prayer book and the synagogue service By Hayim Halevy Donin, page 178
  6. 1 2 Holladay, William L. (1996). The Psalms Through Three Thousand Years: Prayerbook of a Cloud of Witnesses. Augsburg Fortress. ISBN 978-0-8006-3014-0.
  7. 1 2 3 Ellinson, G. (1992). The modest way: a guide to the rabbinic sources. Philipp Feldheim. ISBN 978-1-58330-148-7.
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