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I've "seen" many Talmidei Chachamim not saying the Ribbono shel Olams following each bracha of Birkas Kohanim. At least, I hear them chanting with the Kohanim from start to finish. Are these tefilos said only if you have a specific dream that you are worried about?

And, if I already said it, why say it twice? (Unless once I identify that I had a dream, I take advantage. I do recall that the Siddur Ishei Yisrael ("the Gra's siddur") had 3 Ribbonos: the first ends v'yishmereini for the yishmerecha bracha, then v'choneini for vichuneka, the 3rd concludes with visirtzeini. So perhaps we have a postsurgical version after the yehi ratzon was added?)

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3 Answers 3

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The Shulchan Aruch discusses this issue in OC 130. He rules that one who saw a frightening dream should say the "Ribbon" prayer when the Kohanim bless the people. The Biur Halacha there notes that this should only be done by someone who actually saw such a dream. However, he notes that the custom is for all to say it always because in the Diaspora (in Ashkenazi communities) the Kohanim only bless the people on Holidays and it must be that everyone has experianced such a dream since the last holiday and they must have forgotten it. Based on this logic, one would only say it on the first day of pesach, shavuot and rosh hashana as all the other times are so close that the above assumption can't really be made (unless you know you saw such a dream where even the next day you say it again). (It's possible that sukkot would be included as it is two weeks away. Or Maybe even Yom Kippur. The boundary is not so clear.) Certainly for someone saying the prayer again the day after saying it already he should skip the introductory line "I have dreamed a dream" to avoid lying in prayer.

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4  
And, as always, someone reading this should rely not on what he reads here but on his own rabbi for practical halacha. –  msh210 Feb 29 '12 at 16:26
    
@msh210 As usual. –  Double AA Feb 29 '12 at 18:22
    
The entire post is basically a summary of the only Biur Halacha on that siman. –  Double AA Feb 29 '12 at 18:31
    
So those that I have heard chanting may have said it recently and I projected their custom to all the time. Alternatively they came from a background where they did not say it unless they knew they had a dream. I'll have to pay closer attention (or ask them at some point). –  YDK Mar 1 '12 at 20:45
    
Incidentally, it should be noted that personal requests are forbidden on Yom Tov and Shabbat (Rambam, Hilchot Shabbat, 30:12) –  Double AA Nov 11 at 4:14

I can only say what my family's custom is: say the entire ribono shel olam (the prayer, I mean!) while the kohanim hum before each of v'yishm'recha and vichuneka, and the y'hi ratzon before shalom. On Shabas, skip all of the above. This is irrespective of having had a disturbing dream.

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I once heard, but I don't recall where, that there is another possible reason to say it even if you didn't have a bad dream - part of the Ribbono Shel Olam mentions dreams that others have had about you, which you will most likely not be aware of.

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It's in the Beiur Halacha cited in my answer. –  Double AA Oct 3 at 11:39

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