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Getting Personal

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Requests, Personal, Asking for them on Shabbat

Carol Brown wrote:

I was told that a person isn't supposed to ask Hashem for personal requests on Shabbat. Is the reason so that we won't have sad thoughts on Shabbat? How far does this rule extend? For example, I have a particular prayer for an errant child which I say every other day. Is it really not appropriate to say it on Shabbat?

Saydee613@aol.com wrote:
When a woman lights Shabbat candles, she davens over them, beseeching Hashem. Isn't this in contradiction of not asking Hashem for things on Shabbat?

Dear Carol Brown and Saydee613,

On Shabbat, it's inappropriate to pray for personal needs. Focusing on what you lack is apt to cause worry and distress, contrary to the spirited, festive atmosphere which should reign on Shabbat.

I discussed this issue with Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, shlita. He explained that that this prohibition is limited to physical needs. Praying for spiritual needs, however, is permitted. Praying for an errant child is considered a spiritual need.

Sources:

  • Tractate Shabbat 12a.
  • Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, shlita, senior member of the Jerusalem Beit Din Tzedek (Badatz), and author of many important halachic works.

 
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