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Requests in Shemonah Esrei

Question:

  1. I know that it is permitted to add personal requests in the middle brochos of shemonah esrei if they are relevant, concise and requests for current needs, not for the future. Is it permitted to make requests for the near future (e.g. to have success in work the coming week/month)
  2. Also, is it permitted to say things that are not especially requests e.g. to confess one’s sins in slach lonu, or just to talk to Hashem e.g. to say, “I know You are the only One who can help me…”?

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

  1. The Mishna Berura brings the Pri Megadim who says that it is permitted to request personal things in the middle brachos for things that are a current need, such as a person that has a relative who is sick, but not if the person doesn’t have a current need, i.e. there isn’t anyone sick that he knows, but he is merely davening that no one should get sick in the future. My understanding of this is that it is not an issue of present or future, rather if he now feels a need for the thing he is requesting, or if it is merely for upkeep of his current situation that it shouldn’t get worse. Therefore, a person that has an interview for a job in a week/month may daven for success at the meeting because he now feels a need for it. However, if it is merely that he should continue to stay healthy, etc. then it should only be inserted into shomeya teffilah, or elokei nitzor. This is most probably what you mean by relevant. Regarding that the request be request that is only for a request that is a person’s personal need, but not if it is a public need. You may elaborate about the request though in elokai nitzor.

As a side point the request should only be said after starting the bracha, for example when davening for knowledge and understanding, first the words “ato chonen l’adam daas should be said. Additionally, it should not be after the ending statement of the bracha i.e. after “choneinu meitcha…” since the closing statement of the bracha has to be adjacent to the bracha itself (boruch ato…)

  1. Regarding confessing sins, it is brought that confessing during the middle brachos should only be done if it is said in a lashon rabim, (public tense “we sinned”) however in shema koleinu it can be said even in a personal tense (“I sinned”). The time to “talk to Hashem” in your own words, is either in shema koleinu or in elokai nitzor.

May Hashem be mekabel all of your teffilos

Sources:

  1. O:CH 119-1, M:B 119-1, Eliyahu Rabba 119-2, Pri Megadim E:A 119-1, Poskim. O:CH 119-2, M:B 119-12.
  2. Eliyahu Rabba 119-1.

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