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There is a Jewish virtue, that one should be content with one's lot, and this leads to a feeling of wealth and happiness (see Avot 4:1).

In my youth, I was a fan of a cartoon called Dragon Ball Z, especially because the protagonist, Goku, was known for being virtuous and pure hearted. One thing that made a deep impression on me then, was one episode where he was offered the opportunity to "make any wish" and it would be granted, but he declined because he couldn't think of anything he wanted, because he felt he had all he wanted and needed.

I can't prove that it is an obligation to reach this level of contentment (maybe Berachot 9:5?), but it certainly seems like an ideal goal of a Jew, and therefore I imagine there are many Jews that have reached or are close to it.

There is also a Jewish virtue in bringing our requests, even (especially) our petty requests, to Hashem, as a service, a prayer. I have heard many shiurim that attest to how much Hashem appreciates us making our personal requests (bakashot) to Him, although I don't think I can find a good solid source to back up this point at the time of writing. Those who know, know I guess!

So, here's a question with admittedly not a huge amount of solid ground to stand on, but hopefully someone out there will appreciate it and procure an interesting answer: If someone doesn't want anything at all, because he is truly happy and content with his lot, then is it ok that he doesn't make any bakashot when he prays? If not, what should he do?

If we truly value contentment with what one has, how can one please Hashem with personal requests, without making it sound like one isn't content with one's portion?

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    Pray for someone else?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 26 at 20:01
  • @DoubleAA I understand how little substance my question is founded on, but I have been specific with "personal requests".
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jun 26 at 20:04
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    @Yoreinu that's exactly the kind of answer I am expecting - why leave it only as a comment? Hopefully if you make it an answer, you can clarify if those requests petty enough to fulfill all levels of Hashem's desire for our tefillot. Your profile pegs you as a halachist of lesser known halacha, so if you taich this with Aruch Hashulchan OC 89:8, I will be very grateful and likely give you a large bounty ;)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jun 26 at 20:08
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    See Nefesh Hachaim (Shaar 2), that the central theme of Tefillah is that the glory of HKBH should be revealed in this world. All tefillah revolves around this. However content you may be, the glory of HKBH has unfortunately not yet been revealed, and there is too much to pray for.
    – chortkov2
    Commented Jun 26 at 20:49
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    Sameach b'chelko is in regards to one's physical needs. In ruchnius one should always strive for maalin bakodesh
    – Dude
    Commented Jun 26 at 22:24

2 Answers 2

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For others!! The language of shmonei esrei is plural for this purpose. Even if I have enough, I need to pray for others to have enough as well.

There is a through discussion of prayer as inherently communal here: https://www.etzion.org.il/sites/default/files/26post.doc

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  • Welcome to MiYodeya Elisheva and thanks for this first answer. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Jun 27 at 13:35
  • Welcome indeed and thanks for this answer. Would it be possible to summarise the relevant parts of the discussion as they pertain to my question specifically so I can determine if this answers my question properly? I am specifically looking to substantiate the claim that not praying at all for one's own petty needs is valid (so long as one is praying for others')
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jun 30 at 18:23
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I cannot cite them here, but in many speeches the Rabbi of Klausenburg, discusses this. He often tells stories of virtuous people that never asked for anything for themselves as they didn't find themselves worthy enough and believed that their current situation had been decreed by Hashem and as such is what Hashem wants, so why ask to change it.

He points out the importance of praying for the galut of the shechina, the return to Zion and the Geula sheleima.

To answer the OP's question, in my opinion, praying for these should be considered as praying for your own needs as

  1. They will bring immediate benefit to yourself
  2. This is what Hashem wants and in turn what every Jew should want
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    +1 but please do consider revisting one day if you do stumble across the sources. If someone isn't on the level of a Tzaddik or even less, and therefore doesn't pray for those lofty items, but also doesn't pray for anything else - is he considered on a high level for the latter, or is this considered incorrect?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jun 26 at 20:15

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