Halacha for Wednesday 10 Iyar 5779 May 15 2019

Inserting Personal Requests in the Amida Prayer on a Constant Basis

Question: You have written in the Halacha Yomit that one may insert personal requests into the blessings of the Amida. Is this permitted even on a constant basis, i.e. adding personal requests in one’s Amida prayer every day?

Answer: Indeed, it is permissible to add personal requests into the middle blessings (blessings in between the first three and last three blessings of the Amida) of the Amida prayer based on the context of that specific blessing. Within the “Shema Kolenu” blessing, one may insert a request for anything one needs, as we have explained. Most Sephardic Siddurim nowadays have a text for Viduy (confessional prayer) and a prayer for one’s livelihood printed within the “Shema Kolenu” blessing. This idea is based on the words of our Sages who allowed personal prayers to be added within the Amida prayer.

The Turei Zahav writes (Chapter 122) that when our Sages permitted adding personal requests into the Amida, they only allowed doing this occasionally; however, one should not add personal requests on a daily basis, for this will seem like one is changing the standard prayer text that out Sages instituted since one is adopting a new text for himself with this new prayer.

Nevertheless, Maran Ha’Chida writes in his Birkei Yosef that the Turei Zahav’s opinion is halachically incorrect. The Kaf Ha’Chaim writes that even according to the Turei Zahav’s opinion, one may add the text of the Viduy and prayer for one’s livelihood into the “Shema Kolenu” blessing, for this text has already been mentioned by the holy Zohar and the Ari z”l and may therefore be added on a constant basis.

Indeed, the Yalkut Yosef (Tefillah, Volume 2, Chapter 119, Section 2) quotes the holy Zohar from which we can infer that every time one prays, one should confess one’s sins during the “Shema Kolenu” blessing. He proceeds to quote the Mekubalim who write that one should likewise pray for one’s livelihood during this blessing on a daily basis.

Thus, halachically speaking, regarding the texts of Viduy and prayer for one’s livelihood, one may rely on the words of the Poskim who allow this to be added even on a constant, daily basis. On the other hand, regarding other personal prayers, there is room for stringency and one should not add them on a constant basis; rather, one should change the wording of one’s personal prayers from time to time.

It is recounted that although Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l had many constant personal requests while praying, such as praying for the ill and the like, he would nevertheless change the wording of his prayers from time to time or not insert his personal requests for a while so that it would not seem like he was instituting a new standard text into his prayer, in accordance with the opinion of the Turei Zahav.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Prohibition of Threshing and Squeezing on Shabbat

We have explained several times that there are thirty-nine “primary works” that are prohibited on Shabbat. Every “primary work” is composed of “subdivisions” which are works similar to the “primary work”; these “subdivisions” also carry a T......

Read Halacha

Preparing Tea on Shabbat

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one may squeeze a lemon Shabbat by hand, as opposed to using a utensil, for squeezing lemons does not share the same Halacha as squeezing other fruits on Shabbat. We have also mentioned that Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that even thoug......

Read Halacha

Squeezing Lemons on Shabbat

In previous Halachot, we have explained that one may not squeeze a fruit on Shabbat if there are those who usually squeeze this kind of fruit for its juice. We also explained that one may indeed squeeze fruits by hand (as opposed to using a utensil to squeeze it, which is prohibited) onto a food, fo......

Read Halacha

Squeezing Oranges onto Fruit Salad on Shabbat

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that the Torah prohibits squeezing olives for their oil or grapes for wine on Shabbat. The squeezing of other fruits is not a Torah prohibition; rather our Sages enacted that one may not squeeze other fruits such as berries and pomegranates on Shabbat. We h......

Read Halacha


Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Walking on One’s Way

Question: If one is eating while walking outdoors, may one recite Birkat Hamazon while continuing to walk? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed that our Sages have enacted that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while sitting in order for the individual to have maximum concentration. ......

Read Halacha

The Significance of Tu Bishvat

The Fifteenth of Shevat or Tu Bishvat is the Rosh Hashanah for trees (Rosh Hashanah 2a). Most people commonly think that just as on the First of Tishrei, which is the day of Rosh Hashanah, all creations are judged for life or death, for wealth or poverty, and the like, so too, on Tu Bishvat, trees a......

Read Halacha

Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Seated

Question: Is one obligated to sit while reciting Birkat Hamazon or is it permissible to recite it while walking as well? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (51b) states that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while seated. The Poskim as well as Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 183) rule li......

Read Halacha

A Dish Comprised of Several Kinds of Food

Question: What is the correct blessing on stuffed peppers? Similarly, what is the correct blessing on a cake which has just a little flour but the primary ingredients of the cake are fruits and nuts? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that when one eats two different foods requirin......

Read Halacha