During the Covid lock down, I was on some Tehillim chats or would just get names of many Cholim. I kept a list of them in my Siddur and when it was getting so much, I would copy paste them into emails to myself. I would scroll and scroll getting more and more names. Eventually, I got very worn out from it, being that many of the names I wasn’t getting updates on and just the list was going on forever. The ones I did get updates on, I never knew when I should stop Davening for them. The one’s that Rachmana l’tzlan, passed away, I would try to Daven for their Neshemos even if I didn’t get the father’s name. Some names I wouldn’t know how to pronounce being that I wasn’t sure if it was a typo or that’s how they spell or say their name or if it was just uncommon name I didn’t know so I would stand there at the end of my Shemona Esrei before taking steps back and recite all these names and it would take forever long. I ended up dreading saying Shemona Esri because my feet would hurt and I just didn’t have the will to do so. So I went from saying lists of names to not having the will to say the names of even the Cholim I knew of on a personal level. That was a while back, but I still didn’t get over it. My Shemona Esreis shortened significantly and the lists still sit in both of my Siddurs, me extremely occasionally reading them down in my Shemona Esreis. I still have a whole section of emails with the names I collected. I left many of the Tehillim chats and the one that I stayed on, I’m practically scared of. Basically this OCDness led to rock bottom. In addition, during the lock down, I guess I can say I had a rigorous Tehillim “schedule.” I wouldn’t go to sleep until I finished it. Sometimes I would accidentally fall asleep and wake up in the middle of the night to say it. Or I would fall asleep in middle and wake up to finish. It contained of the yom l’chodesh, tehillim I was saying for a specific choleh(that at one point, although signed up to finish with others, just got so worn out and stopped, probably leaving the Tehillim unfinished…and that to I still have a reminder on one of my phone screen saver with the number of kapitals I was supposed to say for a period of time and didn’t), I was saying each of my family members and of another family’ childrens kapitals and my own. I would say good kapitals to say, like kuf lamed, kuf chaf alef, chaf…I believe at the beginning and end of my Tehillim cycle. And that is what I remember as of now. If I missed a day, I would do 2 of these cycles the next. Sounds absurd yes, but this is what I did. This made me lose my tam for Tehillim. I also once heard a story of a Rebbi or maybe it was a talmud who asked a shiala if he should take time to say to Tehillim instead of learning and was told as long as he was concetrating on what he was saying and the meaning then say Tehillim instead of learning then for the Choleh. Since I don’t know the meaning, I also stopped. Also, since my kriah isn’t amazing, it would take me longer and if I messed up on a word, I felt the need to say it again so I finished the kapital and then said it again even more slowly. Now, when I say Tehillim, I wish I can say it with a cheshek but all these worries fill my head of not knowing the meaning and having to say it extremely slowly. So when asked to take Tehillim, I used to grab the opportunity and take quite a few, now even 1 yom is pushing it for me. All the concentration and brain space it takes leaves me with a feeling of not knowing what to do with myself.
Can you please guide me on what I should do with all these names of Tehillim I have on papers and papers and digitally and on chats I ignore? What can I do to restrengthen this? I feel bad that my Tefillah is so lacking. I heard of all these Rebbetzins that never threw out a name and I can’t bring myself to just forget about them, but it is so hard to bring myself back up to that level when I dropped so low…
It is good that you wrote to us because, and what happened to you happens to many other people. They don’t know when to stop saying the names of the various cholim that they are given. Yes, it is true that there are some very pious people that can say endless lists of names of cholim even years after they were given the name, however for you this is not a pious thing to do, rather a type of trick from the yetzer hora. Sometimes the yetzer hora stands in our way to stop us from doing mitzvos. Other times he goes behind us and pushes us forward and tries to get the person to run too fast so that we will trip and fall. Then he has the person on the floor. Regarding your situation, the yester hora wants you do try to do things that are too hard for you to do, to eventually discourage you from saying Tehillim and davening for other people altogether. Therefore, you should not say too many names, or take on too many kapitalach (chapters). Regarding the cholim names, you have a few options of what you can do. Either keep names on the list for no more than 30 days, unless you know that this person still needs the tefilla. Or what you can do is simply. Say that you are davening for all the people on your list, and it should be considered as if you mentioned each one individually.
Hashem should help you keep on davening, and you should be zoche to help out many people.