What type of personal requests are forbidden on Shabbos? I’ve heard some say it’s gashmius related – is that correct? If so, are the following gashmius or ruchnius is shalom bayis or gidul banim or a midda I’m working on?
Does the same issur apply on Yom Tov? On Chol Hamoed? Thank you very much
There are several reasons why we don’t make requests for personal things on Shabbos.
- The Midrash says the reason is because we will be upset and pained when davening, and Shabbos is for enjoying and we are not to be in pain.
- The Midrash says that it is because we don’t talk about weekday personal things on Shabbos.
According to these reasons, the poskim say that it is permitted to daven for ruchnius things, the same way we can talk about ruchnius things on Shabbos. Additionally, a tefilloh that a person always says, is permitted, because we don’t assume that he will become pained when saying it (if that indeed is the case).
Therefore, it would be permitted to daven for a shidduch on Shabbos, because it is one of the things we are allowed to talk about on Shabbos. The same would be to daven for the ruchnius advancement of our children. In fact women daven for this right after they light their Shabbos candles, and it is already Shabbos for them. Additionally, we daven for this every Shabbos in Yukum Porkan. Regarding davening for help on working on your middos, that is also permitted as this is definitely included in ruchnius. Additionally, it is also included in what we daven every Shabbos vetaher libeinu l’ovdicha b’emes.
As a side point, although we may not say our requests on Shabbos, according to a number of poskim it is permitted to think our requests.
Regarding you other question, Yom Tov is the same as Shabbos regarding tefillos. However on Chol Hamoed we may say personal requests, as we see that we daven a regular weekday Shemona Esrei.
 Tanchuma beginning of Parshas Vayeira.
 Vayikra Rabba 34-16.
 Emes L’Yackov ftnt 313, Halichos Shlomo (Tefillah 14-11, Kovetz Halachos (Shabbos vol. 1 8 ftnt. 2)
 Yerushalmi Shabbos chap 15-3, Tur 188-5, M:B 188-9.
 O:CH 306-6
 Eshel Avraham Butchatch 68-1, Shulchan Shlomo ftnt to siman 288-9, Bakashos B’shabbos 1-3.
 Rav Poalim 2 O:CH 46