1) HALACHAH: PREPARING WORKERS ON SHABBOS
OPINIONS: The Beraisa says that on Shabbos, one may not ask his friend if he can stay with him until the night (Motza'i Shabbos), if his words hint to his friend that he wants to hire him for work after Shabbos. Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah permits such speech. Rebbi Yochanan says that the Halachah follows the view of Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah, and this is the Halachah as recorded by the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 307:7). The Shulchan Aruch adds, however, that such speech is permitted only when he asks his friend in the form of a question, but not if he makes a statement (such as, "Be ready tonight!").
Does this allowance also apply to speaking to potential workers who are Nochrim, or does it apply only to Jews?
(a) The HAGAHOS ASHIRI rules that this allowance applies only to Jews. One is not permitted to ask a Nochri if he can stay until Motza'i Shabbos when he intends to hire him.
(b) TOSFOS in Shabbos (150a, DH Omer) quotes the opinion expressed by the Hagahos Ashiri as "some say," but he rejects it. Tosfos explains that the reason why such speech is permitted when one speaks to a Jew is that it is not included in the category of forbidden speech on Shabbos. Speaking about waiting around until after Shabbos is permitted. The speaker's mental intention to do business after Shabbos is not forbidden on Shabbos. Therefore, it makes no difference whether the person who is going to be hired is a Jew or a Nochri.
What is the reasoning behind the opinion of the Hagahos Ashiri?
The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 307:10) explains that the reasoning of the Hagahos Ashiri is that "he wants to know the work." What does this mean? The LEVUSHEI SERAD explains that when the Nochri is asked to wait around until nightfall and he understands the hint that work is to be done after Shabbos, he decides at that moment that he will do the work. As far as he is concerned, he would start working immediately for his Jewish employer. Consequently, the Jew is considered to have actually hired the Nochri on Shabbos. In contrast, when a Jew asks another Jew to wait around until nightfall, the Jewish worker has no intention to desecrate Shabbos. Although he understands that there probably will be an opportunity to work after Shabbos, he has no intention to be hired now, on Shabbos.
HALACHAH: The MISHNAH BERURAH (307:28) rules leniently, like Tosfos, who permits one to ask both a Jew and a Nochri to wait around until after Shabbos. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) PERSONAL REQUESTS DURING SHEMONEH ESREH
OPINIONS: Nachum ha'Madi states that one may add personal requests to Hash-m in the blessing of "Shome'a Tefilah" in the Shemoneh Esreh. The Gemara later (8a) quotes Rav Yehudah brei d'Rav Shmuel bar Shilas in the name of Rav who adds that if one wants to add a request that involves any of the other topics of the blessings in Shemoneh Esreh at the end of that particular blessing, he may do so. Rebbi Chiya bar Ashi in the name of Rav similarly says that even though one may make personal requests in the blessing of "Shome'a Tefilah," if he has a sick person in his home he may pray for that person in the blessing for sick people ("Refa'einu"), and if he needs Parnasah he may ask Hash-m for Parnasah in the blessing of "Birkas ha'Shanim." Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi says that a person may add any supplications that he wants, even as lengthy as the order of prayers of Yom Kippur, at the end of the Shemoneh Esreh.
Is there a difference between the rulings of Rav Yehudah brei d'Rav Shmuel and Rebbi Chiya bar Ashi, or are they saying the same thing?
(a) RABEINU YONAH in Berachos (22b of the pages of the Rif) explains that there are four different Halachos with regard to making personal requests in the Shemoneh Esreh:
1. A person may make any request he wants, in any manner, in the blessing of "Shome'a Tefilah."
2. At the end of any blessing (before the concluding Berachah), one may add only requests that involve problems facing the public, and such requests must be made in the plural form (Lashon Rabim) and be relevant to the topic of that blessing. A request in the singular form (Lashon Yachid) constitutes an interruption, Hefsek, between the beginning and end of the blessing.
3. In the middle of any blessing, a person may make requests pertaining to the subject of that blessing in the singular form (Lashon Yachid), but not in the plural form (Lashon Rabim). If he makes a request in the plural form it appears as though he is changing the basic textual structure of the Shemoneh Esreh.
4. Between the first recitation of the verse, "Yiheyu l'Ratzon Imrei Fi" (after "Birkas ha'Shalom") and the second (before "Oseh Shalom"), one may ask for whatever he wants and in any manner he wants, just as he may ask in "Shome'a Tefilah."
What is Rabeinu Yonah's source for these distinctions?
The BEIS YOSEF (OC 119) explains that his source is the Gemara here. Rabeinu Yonah learns that Rav Yehudah brei d'Rav Shmuel and Rebbi Chiya bar Ashi must be saying different things. He understands that Rav Yehudah brei d'Rav Shmuel refers to requests for the general public, while Rebbi Chiya bar Ashi refers to requests for the individual. Rav Yehudah brei d'Rav Shmuel rules that one may add a request for the public in the blessing that deals with that subject (Rabeinu Yonah's second rule). Rebbi Chiya bar Ashi rules that one may insert a personal request in the middle of any blessing, but only in the singular form (Rabeinu Yonah's third rule). The Beis Yosef adds that Rabeinu Yonah's requirement that a person who prays for the public must phrase the request in the plural form at the end of the blessing is not derived from the words of the Gemara but is his own ruling.
(b) The Beis Yosef writes that RASHI apparently disagrees with Rabeinu Yonah's understanding of the Gemara. Rashi makes no comment on the statements of Rav Yehudah brei d'Rav Shmuel and Rebbi Chiya bar Ashi. This implies that Rashi understands that there is no difference between the two statements. The Beis Yosef points out that other Rishonim, including the RAMBAM and the ROSH, also make no mention of any difference between supplications for the individual and supplications for the public. Accordingly, there are three, and not four, guidelines that one should follow: the first and fourth guidelines of Rabeinu Yonah, and that he may add requests pertaining to any blessing in that particular blessing (with no need to distinguish between requests for the individual and requests for the public). The Beis Yosef rules like the other Rishonim, and not like Rabeinu Yonah. However, he concludes that it is preferable to be careful and abide by the guidelines of Rabeinu Yonah.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 119:1) mentions the opinion of Rabeinu Yonah, which implies that one preferably should be careful to follow the guidelines of Rabeinu Yonah when one adds personal requests into the Shemoneh Esreh (as he writes in the Beis Yosef). The MISHNAH BERURAH (119:9) concurs with this ruling. (Y. MONTROSE)