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Today we took out 3 Sifrei Torah because it was Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh, and Parshas HaChodesh. Although we open the Ark every Shabbos and that is always a time of Heavenly Mercy, the Sefer Heichalos from R' Yishmael Kohen Gadol says when there are 3 Sifrei Torah, this is an even more propitious time for prayer because of the incredible Heavenly Mercy that exists when 3 scrolls are removed.

Why are we allowed to daven for personal matters on Shabbos when the Mishna Berurah 188:9 says one may not daven for his own needs on Shabbos unless the prayer is part of the regular service? The implication of the Sefer Heichalos is that we should ask for salvation and assistance in our own way.

  • It might also help (besides the preceding comments said) if you clarified why you think you can pray for personal matters. I see nothing about personal matters in your first paragraph. – msh210 Apr 10 '16 at 15:36
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    Thank you Tzuriel for editing to improve your post. Do you know by any chance where the Sefer Heichalos says this? Seeing the original language of his (if you can link to it online all the better) may help someone understand his reasoning. – Double AA Apr 10 '16 at 16:16
  • I was told as well this Shabbat that it is important to take the opportunity when the Ark is open to pray for personal matters. The opening of the Ark was even delayed so that this could be announced to everyone. I was also thinking about this issue when that was happening. – Echad-Ani-Yodeya Apr 10 '16 at 16:58
  • @Echad-Ani-Yodeya my shul did the same thing! – Tzuriel Apr 10 '16 at 17:45
  • Tzuriel, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for the interesting question! I hope you'll look around and find other Q&A of interest and stay learning with us. – mbloch Apr 11 '16 at 8:39
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I had a similar question recently as we had a brit milah in shul and the grandfather distributed a prayer for personal requests to be said at the time of the brit. I was surprised this was allowed and looked it up afterwards.

Turns out, in a nutshell, that, beyond the traditional nusach, requests for spiritual matters are allowed while requests for material issues should be avoided.

R Yirmiyohu Kaganoff writes here for instance

In several places, the Gemara mentions that one may not pray for individual needs on Shabbos (e.g., Taanis 19a; Bava Basra 91a; Yerushalmi, Shabbos, 15:3). At least two reasons are quoted for this prohibition. Some sources include it under what the Navi Yeshaya (58:13) commanded when he declared, Vechibadto mei’asos derachecha, mimetzo cheftzecha vedabeir davar, "You shall honor the Shabbos by not performing your own matters, seeking out your own needs and speaking of them" (Vayikra Rabbah 34:16; Rashba, Shabbos 113a). This proscription is usually simply called dabeir davar.

Others prohibit praying for personal requests on Shabbos because it violates one’s oneg Shabbos. Praying for personal needs causes one to focus on what troubles him, which leads a person to be sorrowful (see Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 30:12 and Ran, Shabbos, Rif page 5b). Shabbos is to be a day of joy.

[R Kaganoff then goes into a long discussion why the traditional nusach contains personal requests, see original for details]

The Mishnah Berurah (288:22) permits praying on Shabbos for spiritual help or for any other request that is not a result of difficult circumstances. It seems that this should be permitted for two reasons: (1) one should not pray on Shabbos about one’s own needs, but spiritual needs are Hashem’s realm and (2) most people do not become saddened regarding their spiritual failings and "troubles."

R Moishe Dovid Lebovits writes similarly here (see there for sources)

Chazal forbade one to ask for his personal needs on Shabbos. Some say this is learned from the din that on Shabbos one has to act differently from the rest of the week. Others say the reason is because it is not an oneg for Shabbos if one asks for his personal needs. The Ran says the reason is because asking for personal needs on Shabbos may cause a person to cry on Shabbos which is not allowed. The Korbon Eida says the reason is because of tirdas halev.

Many poskim say the whole issur is to ask regarding a tzara one already has, and one is permitted to request from Hashem that a certain tzara should not come. Some say something which has a set nusach can be said on Shabbos even if it contains personal requests.

Although some poskim prohibit asking for personal ruchniyus needs on Shabbos, many poskim say it is permitted to do so. The minhag is in accordance with this second opinion. The reason is because asking for ruchniyus needs does not conflict with any of the reasons mentioned above.

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In a small pamphlet (kuntres) called ורפא ירפא, R' Chaim Kanievsky wrote that he was asked about making personal requests during the time when a baby cries during the bris (which is brought down as a time which is auspicious for prayer) if the bris is on Shabbos. He writes that he originally used to tell people that when Rosh Hashana falls out on Shabbos that they should not verbally express their personal requests, but subsequently retracted. His retraction was because he concluded from the practice that women are allowed (and encouraged) to make requests after lighting the Shabbos candles, that there is an exception made for personal requests on Shabbos when it is a specific auspicious time which one would otherwise miss.

The same would apply to personal requests by the opening of the Ark for the 3 sifrei Torah - since it is an auspicious time which one would otherwise miss, it is permitted in spite of the general prohibition of making personal requests on Shabbos.

  • Does this apply to times that are auspicious for only kabbalistic reasons? Many won't negate Halakhic concerns for Kabbalistic ones (only fulfilling the latter when there are no Halakhic issues; there's probably a name for that rule...) – Double AA Apr 5 at 19:06
  • I wonder if it's obvious to all that Tosefet Shabbat has the same rules as actual Shabbat. Don't some permit praying Mincha with its ordinary requests after accepting Tosefet Shabbat? – Double AA Apr 5 at 19:09
  • @DoubleAA That (Tosefes Shabbos) was my first thought as well when I saw it! – Y     e     z Apr 5 at 19:12
  • @DoubleAA but regarding the Kabbalistic point - I don't know the source that candle-lighting time is auspicious, but I would not be surprised to find out that it was a Kabbalistic-ish kind of source. Do you know the source? – Y     e     z Apr 5 at 19:14
  • I do not. It could be my question is on that practice too. – Double AA Apr 5 at 19:17

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