How to Use the Bible

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The Bible is not just a text to study but also a source of inspiration and prayer. R. Herbert S. Goldstein once published the following incredibly useful list in his synagogue newspaper, as recorded in The Maverick Rabbi, p. 219 (reprinted here with permission):

When you have the blues, read Psalm 34.
When you are discouraged, read Isaiah 40.
When God seems far away, read Psalm 139.
When you are lonely or afraid, read Psalm 23.
When penitent, read Psalm 51.
When men fail you, read Psalm 27.
When you want courage, read Joshua 1.
When in danger, read Psalm 91.
When you want faith, read Psalm 73.
When in sorrow, read the Book of Job.
When leaving home, read Psalm 121.
When pondering over environment, read Psalm 1.
For prudence, read Proverbs.
For correction, read Isaiah 1.
The Ten Commandments, Exodus, chapter 20, vs. 1-17.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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