Bakashos on Shabbos


By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

We learn that one is not allowed to ask personal bakashos on Shabbos in a few places. This is brought down in the Yerushalmi in Perek Tes Vov of Meseches Shabbos, in Tosfos in Berachos, daf mem ches amud bais, and in the Tur, Orach Chaim, siman kuf peh ches. The Medrash Tanchuma explains in Parshas Vayeira that this is the reason we have twelve fewer brachos in Shmone Esrei on Shabbos. The middle brachos of Shmone Esrei are personal requests we ask from Hashem. There is a concern that by saying these requests, a person may come to being in pain when he remembers what he is lacking. Since Shabbos was given for Oneg and Simcha, we therefore refrain from saying these brachos.

The Gemara in Brachos, daf chof alef, amud alef gives a different reason why we don’t say these brachos. The Chachamim did not want to trouble the Yidden on Shabbos by having a long davening. The Sefer Hamanhig in Hilchos Shabbos, siman yud alef explains the following gemara: If a person will say the bracha of Refaainu and then remember that he has a choleh in his house, he will experience pain. That is the first reason for not including it in Shabbos davening, but in the second reason he explains that since Shabbos is mamharin lavo umamharin latzais (we bring it in early and leave early from Shul) he will be troubled by saying the middle twelve brachos in Shmone Esrei because of the elongated davening; therefore Chazal made the takana that there are no personal or bakashos on Shabbos.

There are a few questions to be discussed here. How can women say their special tefillos for they husband and children after they light the candles and are mekabel Shabbos? Is one allowed to say a special tefilla when a baby is crying during a bris that takes place on Shabbos? May a lady who is giving birth and needs to travel a lengthy distance to a hospital on Shabbos say tefilas haderech?

Reb Chaim Kanievsky says that the time when the woman lights the candles is a special time and an eis ratzon (opportune time). It is therefore proper and possibly the only time for the tefillah to be effective. Such bakashos are permitted on Shabbos. We can bring a raya to this from the fact that if Rosh Hashana falls out on Shabbos we do not say Avinu Malkeinu; however, if Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos we do say Avinu Malkeinu during Neilah since it is the last time before the chasima, so we say personal bakashos.

Regarding saying the tefillos during a bris on Shabbos; according to the above ruling of Reb Chaim Kanievsky that said that since it is the only time saying bakashos is permitted, it would stand to reason that one may say these tefillos on Shabbos at a brisReb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, on the other hand, says that one should not say the tefillos with his mouth, but rather have them in mind as we see that “hirhur” on Shabbos is permissible.

A woman who is travelling to have a baby may say tefillas haderech as explained in the Shailos Utshuvos Betzeil Hachochma and the Shailos Utshuvos Rivevos Efraim. Both of these seforim explain that the only bakashos one is not allowed to daven for on Shabbos are for things which one is not allowed to do on Shabbos, like parnassa or making medicine for a sick person on Shabbos. In our case, where she is obviously a choleh sheyesh bo sakana, she is definitely allowed to travel and therefore should say tefillas haderech.

Let us hope that the zchus of not being mitztaer on Shabbos will protect us and help us achieve all the gashmiyus needed to help us in our ruchniyus.

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