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In Shemona Esrei we Daven for Da'as - understanding, Teshuva, Geula - redemption, Refua - health, Parnassa - livelihood, etc. Yet nowhere to my knowledge do we Daven for our children. Is there perhaps somewhere we do? If not why not?

  • IMHO each blessing is something that also benefits our children. Das to learn torah to teach it to our children, teshuva for all of klal yisroel, geula also helps our children, same with refua, parnassah, etc. Seems that everything we pray for in S.E. isnt personal per say but something that we want Hashem to bless with the entire people. While its not a source, the pluralized grammar in many parts of S.E. indicate that it isnt a pray for just the person davening. "Hashem should hear OUR Prayers, Shmoeah Tefillah" – user1292 Jun 1 '12 at 16:40
  • You can argue that boneh yirushalayim, barech aleinu, modim, and goel yisrael are all for children in different ways. – Charles Koppelman Jun 1 '12 at 18:39
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    The phrase, "daven for our children" is ambiguous. Are you asking why we don't daven for good things for the children we have? But every b'racha for klal Yisrael will benefit our children! Or, are you asking why we don't daven to be blessed with having children? Please clarify your question. – Shemmy Jun 4 '12 at 11:26
  • @ Shemmy - both - for those who do not have to have and for those who have that they should be upstanding people. – Gershon Gold Jun 4 '12 at 14:07
  • and what would children say? i think the shmonei esrei is supposed to be universal. – ray Jan 20 '14 at 13:37
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I heard from R' Kelemen that he asked Rav Shlomo Wolbe this question, and his response was that davening for the needs of one's children cannot be limited to the set times of prayer. It is necessary at every moment of child-rearing. The needs of a parent for their child change from moment to moment and are qualitatively different throughout the day.

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This question comes from a faulty understanding of the purpose of shmonah esrei. The Rambam (sefer hamitzvos 6, and elsewhere) explains that tefilah (meaning specifically shmonah esrei) is an avodah. The purpose is to serve Hashem, not ourselves. We are having a convesation with Hashem about the ways in which we hope he will interact with the world. Even what may sound like personal bakashos (requests) are tied back into our desire to be able to serve our creator to the best of our abilities and so we ask for forgiveness or understanding not to fulfill a personal need, but as a way for us to be better avdei Hashem.

Therefore we don't daven for children, spouses, parents or any other relationship (why don't we daven for a good Rebbi?!) because our focus needs to be how we can serve God and how creation as a whole yearns to be connected to him.

  • One of the main purposes of the world is to populate it with children that do Mitzvos. Therefore I reject your answer. – Gershon Gold Jun 1 '12 at 16:54
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    This is a proper answer. Shemonei Esrei isnt about US. The blessing from Shemnoei Esrei come from our proper avados Hashem. – user1292 Jun 1 '12 at 16:57
  • There are plenty of "purposes of the world" that we do not daven for in shmonah esrei; why would this one be singled out. My general answer is that we are davening to have a personal relationship with Hashem, not to be able to fulfill specific mitzvos. – not-allowed to change my name Jun 1 '12 at 16:58
  • but we do daven for a good rabbi - al hatzadikim! – Charles Koppelman Jun 1 '12 at 18:33
  • @CharlesKoppelman I disagree, we daven that there should be good Rebbeim and tzaddikim in klall yisroel, none of what we say pertains to ourselves. which is exactly my point. – not-allowed to change my name Jun 1 '12 at 19:00
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The Tur in siman 112 brings an agada that says all the brachos in shmona esrei are paralleling something that happened in this nations past.

When Avraham was saved from the fire, the angels said magen avraham. When Yitzchok was tied to mizbeach, they said michayei meisim. When Yaakov came to the gates of rachamim and glorified the name of Hashem they said Ha'El HaKadosh. Etc.

The Levush in that siman explains the intention of this agada.

These historical events are as if they are happening every day and they include anything that happens under the sun because maaseh avos siman libanim (what happened to the fathers foreshows the children). We need to pray to Hashem that He should be with us as He was with them. That is why there was an enactment to pray of them every day.

It seems to me that we do pray for children in every shmona esrei. But it is we who are the children, hoping to be remembered in the zchus of the fathers. After considering this I don't think it is our place to be asking for our children as well.

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The first idea is to know and understand that כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה (All Israel are mixed one with the other.). This means that in each of the blessings requesting assistance (healing, material sustenance, etc.) your children are included. This same principle applies to viduy (confession). One says the entire confession even if individually some detail doesn't apply.

Beyond that, there is a spot in the Amidah where one is permitted to make individual petitions. That is in the 'Shema koleinu' blessing just before saying, 'because You hear the prayers of every mouth. Etc.' Reference to this can be found in the Siddur Beit Yaacov by Rabbi Yaacov from Emden, Otzar HaSefarim edition, in the section on tefillat shacharit, pg. 71 at the top of the page.

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