Jewish Law

Private requests during the Rosh Hashana prayers

30.08.18

Question

When can a person insert his own private requests in the Rosh Hashana prayers?

Answer

The legal decisors are divided concerning whether it is permitted to insert private requests in the Rosh Hashana prayers. The law in practice is that we can say our personal requests in the concluding paragraph of the Shemoneh Esreh (Elokei Netzur).
Sources: See Siddur Ishei Israel at the introduction to the Rosh Hashana prayers beginning with the word ach, where he says that one shouldn’t make personal requests on Rosh Hashana. However, see the book of Rav Yitzchak Blazar, Kochavei Ohr (1974 version, pages 262-263) where he quotes Rav Israel Salanter who permits it. Orchos Rabeinu 2 (page 181 #27) brings in the name of the Chazon Ish that it is permitted to ask all the personal requests that we make daily in the Rosh Hashana prayers. Ashrei haIsh Part 3 (15:13) mentions that it is permitted in the name of Rav Y. Sh. Elyashiv and Halichos Shlomo on the Festivals (1:15) in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. See also V’Dorashta v’Chakarta Part 4 (Choshen Mishpat 26:2). Concerning a Rosh Hashana that fell on the Shabbat, see Ashrei HaIsh who quotes Rav Elyashiv that one shouldn’t make personal requests on a Rosh Hashana that falls on the Shabbat. Asking that others make a livelihood is not considered a spiritual request. However the Halichot Shlomo mentioned above cites Rav Auerbach that even when Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur occur on Shabbat, one may insert their private requests in the Shemoneh Esreh in the paragraph of “Elokei Netzur.”

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