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You are not allowed to ask for personal requests on shabbat and yom tov when praying to god. However the elokay nitzor following the amidah has a format of a request and is yet still said on these days.

Why is this the case and is it any different the the remaining request-like blessings that are said in the amidah during the week (e.g. refaeni, selach, barech aleynu, etc.)?

The same could be asked regarding the yehi ratzons of the birkhot hashakhar.

  • "Devil's advocate" question - "Sim Shalom" and the opening paragraph of Birkat Kohanim as well as "... Retze Bimnuchateinu" are also all in the form of a request, yet we say them on Shabbat, too. – DanF Jul 7 '15 at 19:20
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    I believe I've heard of a distinction made for spiritual requests (that are already part of the service?) – Loewian Jul 7 '15 at 22:00
  • @DanF I believe the type we don't do, according to the mishna in Ta'anis and those based on it (e.g. Rambam) is personal supplications, whereas the amida is public by default, and is part of the standard t'fila format. The additional Amora prayers we place after the amida tend to be individualized in content and delivery. The standard being a deciding factor in this din is referenced WRT birkas hamazon in Shabas 15:3: "ר' זעירא שאל רבי חייא בר בא מהו מימר רעינו פרנסינו. א"ל טופוס ברכות כך הן.". – WAF Sep 30 '16 at 19:21
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First of all, the notion that Shabbat and Yom Tov are the same in this regard is not universally agreed upon, see Magen Avrohom 128:70 and 584:3.

There are at least two reasons to permit elokay nitzor, and one of them applies to all the other brachot you mentioned as well:

1) The Yerushalmi (Shabbat 15:3) teaches that if a request is already part of the standard text of a bracha, it's fine to say it on Shabbat. This idea is extended by poskim to include the standard text of davening, and even additions made in later generations. This reason would apply to elokay nitzor, and certainly to the weekday Amidah brachot.

2) The Mishna Brurah (288:22) cites the opinion of earlier authorities that only requests to alleviate pain, be it physical or financial etc. were forbidden on Shabbat. This reason would work for elokay nitzor, but not necessarily for every single weekday Amidah bracha.

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    "not universally agreed upon" Can you name me a Rishon who doesn't agree to it? – Double AA Nov 17 '16 at 23:13
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    @DoubleAA Yes - Rabbeinu Nissim. See Magen Avrohom in 584:3. – Jay Nov 18 '16 at 0:06
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    Rabbenu Nissim doesn't actually say that though. The Ran never actually discusses Yom Tov not on Shabbat. Moreover, the Tasbetz says he has a tradition from the Ran's students that that piece is a mistake. – Double AA Nov 18 '16 at 0:07
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    Magen Avrohom seems to think he did. And the Rivash as well. Regardless, just the M.A. alone would make it not universal. – Jay Nov 18 '16 at 0:10
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    The Magen Avraham is not a Rishon, and with all do respect he can't change centuries of Halakha without backing. – Double AA Nov 18 '16 at 0:10

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