Bikur Cholim - A Shabbos Tefillah Request

Q. On Shabbos, one is not permitted to daven for a choleh. What if the choleh requests that you pray for him or her? What should be done?

A. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe OC 1:105) writes that if there is no imminent danger and it is possible to daven for a choleh after Shabbos, it is not permissible to daven on Shabbos, even if the sick person suffers from a life-threatening illness. However, if the choleh makes a personal request for tefillos, it is permissible to do so. Rav Moshe explains that Chazal permitted violating certain Rabbinic laws to calm a choleh. If a request for tefillah is ignored, the person who is ill may feel that people have given up hope for a recovery. This can lead to depression and a worsening of the condition. However, if someone else, such as a relative or friend, asks people to daven on Shabbos, the request should not be fulfilled.


The Gerald & Karin Feldhamer OU Kosher Halacha Yomis is dedicated to the memory of Rav Yisroel Belsky, zt"l, who served as halachic consultant for OU Kosher for more than 28 years; many of the responses in Halacha Yomis are based on the rulings of Rabbi Belsky. Subscribe to the Halacha Yomis daily email here.