In Taanis 8b,

בִּימֵי רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָנִי הֲוָה כַּפְנָא וּמוֹתָנָא, אָמְרִי: הֵיכִי נַעֲבֵיד? נִיבְעֵי רַחֲמֵי אַתַּרְתֵּי — לָא אֶפְשָׁר

In the days of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani there was a famine and a plague. The Sages said: What should we do? Should we pray for mercy for two troubles, both the famine and the plague? This is not possible, as it is improper to pray for the alleviation of two afflictions at once. Rather, let us pray for mercy for the plague, and as for the famine, we must bear it

This seems odd, as this seems to be presented as the majority opinion, but we do daven for multiple things - eg. shemonah esrei comprises of lots of different things.

What's the actual problem here as surely Hashem has infinite resources to answer our tefillos, so why shouldn't we daven for multiple things?

Is this actually halacha, that we should only daven for a single thing?
Is this only referring to communal davening or personal too?
Does this have any practical impact on our tefillos today or is this just an opinion which we don't hold?

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    I'd say the limitation here is in our ability to bring mercy for two troubles, through prayer (and fasting, and good deeds).
    – Tamir Evan
    Nov 17 at 12:33
  • Praying for many things at the same time probably reduces the intensity of your supplication for any one of these things, which the Sages believe will affect the outcome. Nov 19 at 2:26


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