Is it proper to conduct a mi'shebeirach prayer (which is a prayer normally said by a synagogue official, at a communal Torah reading, for the health and recovery of a sick person) for the health/recovery of a sick animal? I have never seen such a prayer conducted for an animal, but I'm unsure if this is because it is improper to do so or simply that no one where I pray has thought to do this for their pets (if they have ones).

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    −1. You don't indicate what a mi'shebeirach prayer is or why you think it might be proper or improper to say one for a sick animal. – msh210 Feb 7 '13 at 14:42
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    Well, what made you ask? Likely either (a) you assume it's proper but have some lingering doubt or (b) you assume it's improper but have some lingering doubt. Either way, what's the basis for your doubt? Or maybe (c) you're of two minds as to its propriety, in which case what are the opposing arguments? – msh210 Feb 7 '13 at 14:47
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    @nikmasi, If you think this would be interesting, you should say why in the question. – Isaac Moses Feb 7 '13 at 14:58
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    A closure vote can't be rescinded. It will eventually and automatically disappear. – msh210 Feb 7 '13 at 14:59
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    @nikmasi, I wouldn't vote to close based on the current state of the question, but I still think it could be improved with the addition of more motivation and prior knowledge. The more effort you put into a question up-front, the less likely that early versions of it will earn it close votes, and the fewer requests for clarification/justification/etc. you'll have to deal with. – Isaac Moses Feb 7 '13 at 15:01

Rav Shach once said that in order to make a Mi Sheberach one needs to know the mother's name. It is most common that one does not know the name of his animal's mother. In addition Rav Shach implied that it is inappropiate to do so.

אחד מרבני רמת גן הוצרך להוועץ במרן הרב שך זצ"ל בענין נחוץ. הזמין מונית ומסר את הכתובת. בדרך ספר לנהג אל מי הוא נוסע: רב גדול. לא, לא מקובל, אבל גאון אדיר. לא, אינו מחלק סגולות. ברכות, כן, בודאי. הן פועלת? בלי ספק, הלא הגמרא אומרת (בבא מציעא פה.) שברכה של אדם "מזכה הרבים" כמוה כברכת הקב"ה!‏

טוב, הגיעו, והנהג הוציא כיפה לבנה, מקופלת, מהתא לימינו, חבשה לראשו. הוא יכול להצטרף? מבקש הוא ברכה לחולה. ודאי, יכנס הראשון, הרב ישאר אחריו, להיוועץ בעניינו.‏

התקבלו במאור פנים, והנהג רכן לנשק ידי הרב. ברגש עז, קרוב לדמעות, בקש ברכה לכלבתו החולה, נפשו קשורה בנפשה, אהובת המשפחה. וכעת, אללי, חלתה.‏

הרב התפלץ בשמעו, אבל הרב שך, ממש "זקן מלא רחמים", נטל את הסידור ודפדף ל"מי שברך לחולה": "יש לנו תפילה מיוחדת לחולים, שיבריאו בסיעתא דשמיא, אבל לפני כן עלינו לדעת מה שם החולה" – "לסי", ענה התרגשות.‏

הרב שך הביט בו מבעד למשקפיו העבות: "ושם האמא?" "אה… לא יודע"…‏

"חבל", נאנח הרב שך וסגר את הסידור, "אז אי אפשר לעשות 'מי שברך'"…‏

לא היתה זו התחמקות. כך הבהיר לו – אם הלה הבין – שבקשתו מופקעת, ואין עורכים "מי שברך" לכלבים…‏

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    You need to know the mother's name to make a Mi Shebeirach? Why is it inappropriate? – Double AA Feb 7 '13 at 19:22
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    Per the story, that is what HaRav Shach Zatzal said. – Gershon Gold Feb 7 '13 at 19:23
  • I have clarified your claim accordingly. – Double AA Feb 7 '13 at 19:24
  • I think that Lassie's mother's name was "Louisa". At any rate, what if you DID Know the dog's mother's name? – DanF Jan 2 '18 at 23:33

I heard Rabbi Dr. Barry Fruendel, shlita, speak on the topic of mishaberachs, generally. He pointed out that the formality of using a name to pray for someone's health was unknown in the days of the Torah. When Moses prayed for Miriam's cure from her leprosy, he just said "Heal her now." Num. 12:13 -- no name was used. Nothing stops us from praying for a cure for a person's health without using their full Hebrew name. Based on that analysis, I would say that there is nothing that prevents us from praying that G-d heal our animal. But without a Hebrew name, going through the ritual of a mishaberach seems like a waste of the congregation's time.

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    Well said. Nothing prevents a personal prayer - it may even be preferable since it can be assumed that the person praying has kavannah. The "Mi sheberach" has a social function as well, like other parts of the service. It says to everyone "Someone this guy is close to is ill" in the same way that Kaddish between Kabalat Shabbat and Maariv says "This guy has yahrzeit in the next week". – Epicentre Feb 10 '13 at 5:48
  • +1 on the answer. However, re your last sentence - my counterpoint based on my being in charge of my shul's "sick list". Being a shul with a population of mainly 60+ aged people, it is inevitable that the number of people on the list exceeds the number of attendants in my shul, esp. on a weekday. There are about 40 - 50 names on the list on average, and reading this list on a weekday when almost everyone is rushing to work, can beg the question if doing this on a weekday is not a "waste of time", esp. when, as you said, everyone can pray individually for their own sick list. – DanF Jan 2 '18 at 23:39
  • When Moshe said "her" he was probably pointing at her. Not a good model for praying for people not in front of you – Double AA Oct 23 '20 at 2:41

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