Asking for personal requests in Shema Koleinu

Personal requests in Shema Koleinu:[1]

It is permitted for one to request from Hashem anything he needs during Shomeia Tefila [i.e. Shema Koleinu] as this blessing incorporates all the requests of a person.

How to request in the blessing:[2] One must first begin the blessing and only afterwards is he to add his personal requests. One is not to first make his personal request and only then begin the blessing.[3] [One is to first recite an entire phrase of the blessing and is not to suffice with merely a few words.[4] Practically, one is to make the request prior to reciting the words “Ki Ata Shomeia Tefilas Kol Peh”.[5]]

What requests may one make?[6] One may request anything he desires during Shomeia Tefila, whether it is a personal request or a request for the community and public. The request may be worded either in singular tense or in plural.[7]
How many requests may one make?[8] Even in the blessing of Shomeia Tefila, when making personal requests or requests for an individual one is not to lengthen in his request. [One is to ask a general request that includes all other requests.[9]] However one may lengthen in requests for the need of the public. Likewise, even personal requests or requests for an individual may be said in length if the individual is needed by the public for his Torah, as in such a case it is considered the needs of the public.[10]

Confessing and then requesting livelihood:[11] It is proper [based on Kabala] for one to confess [his personal sins[12]] in Shomeia Tefila using a singular wording [i.e. Chatasi, Avisi, Pashati[13]] and then request [money for] his sustenance. This applies even if one is wealthy [and does not need money, nevertheless he is to confess and request it from Hashem].

How to pray on behalf of another:[14] One who is praying and arousing mercy on behalf of another, needs to mention his name in the prayer, if he is not making the request in front of the person. [Even one who is praying for his father is to mention his father’s name rather than simply say my father.[15]]




It is permitted for one to request from Hashem anything he needs during Shema Koleinu, whether it be personal requests or requests for the public. However, when making requests for an individual one is not to lengthen in his request. One is to make the request prior to reciting the words “Ki Ata Shomeia Tefilas Kol Peh”. It is proper based on Kabala for one to confess his personal sins in Shomeia Tefila and then request a livelihood.



In what language are the personal requests to be said in?[16]

They may be said in any language that one understands. Nevertheless, it is best to do so in Lashon Hakodesh if one is fluent in the language. The main thing is that the prayer should come from the bottom of ones heart.



Is one to verbalize the words, or may they only be said in his thought?[17]

The words are to be verbalized and not just said in one’s thought.


May one say personal requests in a set Nussach?[18]

Some Poskim[19] rule one may not make a set dialect for personal requests in Shomeia Tefila, as it appears like one is adding to the dialect of the Sages.[20] Rather, when he is in need he is to request from Hashem in his own words, and not say the same words every single day as part of his standard prayer. Other Poskim[21] however rule that one may recite daily even a set dialect of personal requests. Practically, it is best not to say a set Nussach daily and rather one is to say it only occasion, or should say it in a different dialect each time.[22]


Should one specifically make his requests in Shema Koleinu, rather than after Shemoneh Esrei?[23]

Yes. If however saying personal prayers in Shema Koleinu will cause one to miss saying Kedusha with the Minyan, then it is better to say the personal prayers in the Yehyu Leratzon. Likewise, if he desires to lengthen his requests then he may only do so after Shemoneh Esrei, as stated above.


Having extra concentration by other blessings:[24]

One who adds his personal requests in Shemoneh Esrei is to be careful to have extra concentration upon saying the set Nussach of all the other blessings in order that he is not prosecuted [in heaven] to think that he only needs this request answered.



Chabad custom:[25]

Chassidim were accustomed to ask for blessings during Shema Koleinu. Many would mention the Rebbe’s name and his mother’s name, asking Hashem to give the Rebbe health and strength. There is no basis for saying that Chassidim don’t say personal prayers in Shema Koleinu, and on the contrary, this was the old age custom.


Davening for Reshaim:[26]

It is a Mitzvah to Daven for Reshaim that they should repent and not enter Gihennim. It is forbidden for one to Daven for a Rasha to die.


Davening for healthy children that follow the path of Torah:[27]

It is proper for one to Daven daily on behalf of his livelihood and that the words of Torah do not cede from his mouth or the mouth of his children and that all of his descendants be true servants of Hashem.



[1] Admur 119/1; Michaber 119/1; Avoda Zara 8a

[2] Admur ibid; Rama ibid

[3] The reason: As one needs to make the Nussach instituted by the Sages the main request while his request is secondary to it. [Admur ibid; Taz 119/1] Alternatively, the reason is because doing so is considered a Hefsek. [Levush 119; Kaf Hachaim 119/8

[4] Taz 119/1; P”M 119 M”Z 1; M”B 119/3; Kaf Hachaim 119/8

[5] See Siddur Yaavetz that the personal prayers of Shema Koleinu are positioned there; Likewise this is where we add the prayer of Aneinu.

[6] Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Birkeiy Yosef 119/3; Mamar Mordechai 119/1; Kaf Hachaim 119/11

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may not make requests in plural tense during Davening, including during Shoemeia Tefila. [Bach in opinion of Rabbeinu Yona; brought in M”A 119/2; Machatzis Hashekl ibid; Peri Chadash 119]

[7] The reason: As the blessing of Shomeia Tefila includes all of one’s requests and was instituted for this purpose. [Admur ibif]

[8] Admur ibid; Michaber 119/2; Mordechai Brachos 103

[9] Birchas Avraham p. 66; Birkeiy Yosef 119/4; Shalmei Tzibur 133; Shaareiy Teshuvah 119/3; Kaf Hachaim 119/5

[10] Admur ibid

[11] Admur 119/2; M”A 119/1; Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Derush 6; Peri Eitz Chaim; Zohar Balak 195b; Shelah Hakadosh, brought in Siddur Yaavetz; Elya Raba 119 in name of Seder Hayom; M”B 119/4; Kaf Hachaim 119/3

[12] If one has a new sin which he transgressed he is to explicitly mention it and supplicate to Hashem for forgiveness and resolve not to repeat the transgression. [Shalmei Tzibur brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 119/1; M”B ibid] One is to confess the new sin in within the adjacent prayer. [Elya Raba ibid in name of Seder Hayom; Kaf Hachaim ibid] One is to say this confession with a broken heart and with tears, and with a broken and teary voice. [Shalmei Tzibur ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid]

Day that Tachanun is omitted: It is disputed as to whether one may confess his sins in Shomeia Tefila on days that Tachanun is omitted. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 119 footnote 19]

[13] M”A ibid

[14] Admur 119/3; M”A 119/1; See Brachos 34a

[15] Kneses Hagedola Y.D. 240 in name of Sefer Chassidim; Rav Akiva Eiger; Kaf Hachaim 119/6

[16] Yearos Devash Derush 1; Chayeh Adam 24/19; M”B 122/8; Shulchan Hatahor 118 footnote 5

[17] See Shaareiy Teshuvah 116/1; Kaf Hachaim 119/1

[18] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 119/1

[19] Taz 122/2; Shulchan Hatahor 116/1; Mishmeres Shalom 10/7; Aruch Hashulchan 119/2 protests the placing of set Nusschaos of confessions and prayers in the Siddur

[20] The reason: The Taz ibid explains that the allowance to recite personal requests in Shemoneh Esrei was never meant to be an allowance for a set prayer but rather for one to ask for his eneds as they come up during his life.

[21] Birkeiy Yosef 122/2; M”A 119/1 states one may is to recite “Chatasi, Avisi, Pashati,” in every prayer; M”B 119/4 records this ruling and then states in Shaar Hatziyon 119/2 “so rule many other Avchronim unlike the Taz 122/2”; Kaf Hachaim 119/5 says that even according to the Taz ibid one may say a set dialect for the confession and request of livelihood but not for other personal prayers.

Ruling of Admur: On the one hand, in 122/1 Admur completely omits the reason of the Taz ibid for why one should not say the Tachanunim before the first Yiyu Leratzon. On the other hand, when recording the ruling of the M”A ibid in 119/2 Admur omits the set Nussach of “Chatasi, Avisi, Pashati”. Vetzaruch Iyun!

[22] Mishmeres Shalom ibid; Shulchan Hatahor ibid

[23] Chayeh Adam 24/19; M”B 122/8; Kaf Hachaim 119/12

[24] Sefer Chassidim 158

[25] Response of Harav Eli Landa Shlita and Harav Leibal Groner through a written correspondence

[26] Zohar Parshas Vayeira; Midrash Hanelam p. 105; Kaf Hachaim 119/7

[27] Chayeh Adam 24/19; M”B 122/8

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